04 Jan 4 Tips To Make Your 2021 New Year’s Resolutions Stick
Stick to your 2021 New Year’s resolutions with expert advice, helpful resources and proven tips for keeping your New Year resolutions.
The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and make a fresh start, whether it’s eating healthier meals, getting more exercise, saving money or quitting a bad habit, like smoking. However, making resolutions is just the first step; figuring out how to get them all accomplished is the hard part.
If you’re looking to make a positive change in your life in 2021, make sure you’re well prepared with expert advice, tips and helpful resources on how to make your New Year’s resolutions last the entire year.
Best Tips for Keeping Your New Year Resolutions
No matter what changes you resolve to make in your life this year, keeping them throughout the year can be a challenge. That’s because most of us make a few crucial mistakes when making New Year’s resolutions, which often makes us unsuccessful in achieving lasting results.
We tend to make lofty goals without planning out the details. We start off strong but quickly hit burn out. We’re determined to make sweeping changes in many different parts of our lives, which proves to be impracticable and quite often impossible.
But this doesn’t mean you should give up. There are proven ways you can truly achieve long-term results and make positive, lifelong changes. And there’s no better time to start than now.
Start by making your 2021 resolutions realistic and attainable. Don’t just write them down, plan out every detail of how you will achieve them. Then make a plan and track your progress over the course of the year. If you have to take a few steps back, don’t get discouraged – get back on track and keep going!
Here are four tips on making your 2021 resolutions truly stick this year.
1. Focus On One Goal At A Time
Making too many changes all at once can be daunting. Simplify your New Year’s resolution list by focusing on one goal at a time. Change just one habit and focus on just this for 30 to 60 days before adding another challenge.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, don’t start with a punishing diet and seven days a week at the gym. Start by tracking what you eat and scheduling three workouts a week at the gym until this becomes your new habit. After a couple of months, examine your eating habits and make a change to your diet you can stick to for the next 30 to 60 days while maintaining your workout schedule.
“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD in an article on the American Psychological Association. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”
2. Make A Plan & Track Your Progress
Unhealthy habits develop over long periods of time, which is why changing them also takes time. Make the commitment by making a long-term plan, breaking down your goal into manageable chunks and tracking your progress.
Having a solid plan and tracking your progress towards your goals is an easy and effective way to sticking to your resolutions. It’s much more encouraging to see small amounts progress adding up each week than only looking towards the end result.
If your goal is to lose weight and all you focus on is the number on the scale each morning, you’re bound to get discouraged. Instead of fixating on that number, keep track of your workouts and what you eat. This way your successful week will be marked by the amount of exercise you got and healthy meals you ate – not by what the scale says.
It’s also important to track things you’re trying to eliminate from your life, like smoking or biting your nails. Logging your progress in an app or a journal, or even through photos can help show progress and reinforce the commitment to your goal.
You know what you want to accomplish this year; now figure out when, where and how you will accomplish it. Create an action plan and stick to it as much as you can.
3. Don’t Give Up
Our excitement and determination about our resolutions tends to fade as weeks and months pass we get busy with everyday life. If you’re falling back into your old ways, don’t get discouraged. Remember that taking a step back is completely normal and achieving your goals is not about perfection.
Don’t give up if you skipped a week at the gym or ate a decadent dessert on your diet. Forgive yourself and get back on track with your resolutions. We all have our ups and downs, so don’t let a slip up break your commitment to your goal.
“Take credit for success when you achieve a resolution, but don’t blame yourself if you fail. Instead, look at the barriers that were in your way. See how you can do better next time and figure out a better plan to succeed. You do get to try again and can make behavior changes throughout the year, not only at New Year’s,” says psychology professor Alan Marlatt, PhD, who has studied the topic of resolutions for over 20 years at the University of Washington.
4. Get Help If You Need It
Staying positive and seeking help when you need it will help you stick to your resolutions. There are countless resources, advice and support available for whatever you’re striving to achieve. If your plan isn’t producing results, or if you’re stressed out or overwhelmed, take a moment to reexamine your goals and get help from family, friends and professionals who are experts in what you’re trying to achieve. Join a support group, meet with a dietitian or schedule a session with a personal trainer. Sharing your struggles with someone else and getting help will make your goals more attainable.
Most importantly: believe in your resolutions. Keep a daily reminder of the positive impact your goals have on your life and don’t give up!
BONUS TIP: Make The Right Investment
To stay motivated throughout the year, consider investing in books, tools, apps, resources and other items that will help you be successful with your goals.
Buying new workout clothes and gear will make you feel good when you head to the gym. A new healthy cookbook might be the ticket to getting you motivated to trying more healthy meals. A stainless steel reusable water bottle will be a good reminder to drink more water throughout the day. And a powerful budgeting app can help you stay on track with your new saving goals. You can also consider taking a class or joining a club to achieve your goals of learning something new.
Apps & Resources For Your 2021 Resolutions
Here are some additional tips and resources for some of the most popular and common New Year’s resolutions.
1. Get More Exercise
Start by finding simple ways to get more movement throughout the day, like taking the stairs, parking your car further away or walking on your lunch, instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. Invest in workout clothes and gear that will make you feel good. And schedule your workouts just like you would any other important appointment.
Try different types of workouts to find something you really enjoy. Fitness Blender, DAREBEE and Make Your Body Work offer free videos and workout routines you can do right at home. The Nike Training Club app is another free resources that offers free video workouts and tips for all levels. Aging adults can check out Go4Life for a variety of exercises and workouts that are safe and age appropriate.
2. Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating healthy also means drinking healthy. Start by tracking your water intake and minimize any sugary beverages you enjoy on a regular basis or try switching to black coffee. Try cooking one new healthy recipe each week and add fruits and veggies to every meal, which will help you increase your intake of vitamins and fiber, giving your digestive system a boost.
There’s no shortage of healthy recipes on the web along with free apps, like SuperFood – Healthy Recipes, which offers a calorie counter with relevant nutrition information. If you’re looking for a meal planning tool, consider mealime or the wide variety of healthy meal plans available at EatingWell. Guys who are new to cooking will enjoy Fit Men Cook, which offers easy, practical and healthy recipes including keto, vegetarian and vegan options.
3. Lose Weight
Losing weight is another popular New Year’s resolution that will typically involve getting more exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of rest. This goal should really start with a visit to the doctor to ensure your health is in check before starting a weight loss plan. Excess weight can be caused or related to a number of health issues, and not every diet or exercise plan is safe or effective for everyone.
4. Save More Money
If getting out of debt or building up your savings is your 2021 resolution, there are plenty of resources and helpful apps to make the process easy.
For help with building a budget, start with Dave Ramsey’s site and his free Guide to Budgeting from EveryDollar, which covers how to create a budget, pay off debt and start saving. EveryDollar also offers a budgeting app, which allows you to track your spending, plan expenses and more (there are free and paid versions of the app). Mint is another great option for managing your finances; the free app offers budgeting, credit score information, investment tracking tools and other useful features. For a small fee, the You Need A Budget app and Digit are popular alternatives and each offers a free trial so you can see which one works for you before making a long-term commitment.
5. Reduce Stress
2020 was a stressful year for a lot of us. The pandemic took a toll on our lives in more ways than we could have imagined. Our guess is that managing daily stress and self care will be on a lot of New Year’s resolution lists in 2021.
There are many ways to reduce stress, and finding something that works for you and your life should be the goal. But starting with basics, like making sure you get enough sleep, exercise and fresh air should be on your list. Start a sleep journal or look for apps that help you track your sleep habits. Or consider a relaxation app that helps with breathing exercises, mindfulness and mediation, like Calm or Pacifica. Get your steps in each day, and preferably outside and in nature, where you can also get some fresh air. Find activities and hobbies that bring you joy and make time to unwind and relax at the end of the day with a good book, puzzle or game, a glass of wine, a cozy blanket and a scented candle.
6. Declutter & Organize
Many of us are spending more time indoors these days, but being stuck at home is not a bad thing. If you’re working from home, use this time as an opportunity declutter and organize any space in your home. Families with kids who are e-learning or homeschooling can consider implementing chore charts, cleaning schedules, rewards and other methods to get everyone involved in keeping the home clean and organized.
Start by creating a command center where your calendar, schedules, appointments and other important information can be visible to all family members. Add a spot for everyone to leave their keys, backpacks, purses and other important belongings.
Remember, change can be difficult, especially when you first start. Making your goals specific, actionable, achievable and measurable will make an important difference in making them stick.
Tell us about your 2021 resolutions in the comments below and share any helpful tips or resources you’ve found for achieving your goals.