As the new year approaches, many of us often start thinking about setting resolutions. But why exactly do we do that?
Making resolutions is a way to set goals and create positive changes in our lives. It’s a chance to reflect on the past year and think about what we want to achieve in the future. Resolutions can be a way to challenge or motivate ourselves and improve our health, relationships, or careers, so we can become better versions of ourselves. Not everyone makes resolutions, but those who do often find it a helpful way to start the year with a sense of purpose and direction.
If you want to make your resolutions stick this year, there are several strategies you can use to increase your chances of success.
10 No-Fail Tips to Crush Your 2024 Goals
1. Brainstorm Your Ideas
The first step in setting successful resolutions is to sit down and brain dump all your ideas. Take some time to think about what you want to achieve in the coming year. Write down your ideas and don’t worry about whether they are realistic or not. The goal at this stage is to generate as many ideas as possible.
2. Avoid Repeating Past Failures
If you’ve tried to make the same resolution in the past and failed, it’s important to reflect on why that resolution failed. What can you do differently this time around? Maybe you set unrealistic goals or didn’t have a clear plan in place, and that’s why the resolution failed. Use your past failures as learning opportunities and make changes to increase your chances of success.
3. Cull Your List
It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in a year. If you have a long list of resolutions, you could quickly feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to stay focused. Take some time to trim your list and focus on the resolutions that are most important to you.
4. Don’t Rush the Process
Get an early start on thinking about and planning out your resolutions for the next year. Procrastination can create unnecessary anxiety and can lead people to make knee-jerk decisions. Avoid going into the new year with goals you quickly pieced together in an afternoon. Give yourself a few weeks to write ideas down, to think about the person you want to be in the next year and the type of relationships you want to have with people, and also to reflect on what went right and wrong in the past year. Only when you’ve gathered all those data points can you truly sit down and create a list of goals for the new year that you’ll be passionate about and excited to achieve.
5. Use Specifics
When setting your resolutions, it’s important to be specific. Instead of setting a vague goal like “write a book,” set a specific goal like “write a first draft by May.” This will make it easier to track your progress and stay motivated.
6. Set Incremental Goals
Breaking your resolutions down into smaller, more manageable steps is key to success. Set incremental goals that will help you achieve your larger goal. For example, if your goal is to write a book, start by scheduling research and prewriting time, then move to the next goal of writing the first three chapters, and your last incremental goal for “write a book” is your personal revision process.
7. Create a Reward and Penalty System
Creating a reward and penalty system can be a great way to stay motivated. Set up a system where you reward yourself for achieving your goals and penalize yourself for not achieving them. For example, if your goal is to save money, reward yourself with a small treat every time you reach a savings milestone. If you don’t reach your goal, penalize yourself by skipping a treat.
8. Schedule Your Goals into Your Calendar
Adding your goals to your calendar can help you stay on track and keep your goals top of mind. Set aside time each week to work on your goals and make them priorities. Treat your resolutions like any other important appointment and don’t let other things get in the way.
9. Track Your Successes Through the Year
Tracking your successes throughout the year can be a great way to stay motivated. Keep a resolution journal or use an app to track your progress. That way, whenever you need a reminder of how far you’ve come during the year, you can simply turn to your tracked successes.
10. Share with Friends and Family to Keep You Accountable
Sharing your goals with friends and family can help keep you accountable. Tell them about your plans and ask for their support. Having someone to check in with and hold you accountable can be a great motivator.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
There is still a lot we have to learn about setting goals and what motivates us to achieve them. But here are two newer thoughts to keep in mind as you begin writing down your goals.
Use Positive Words to Shape Your Goals
When setting your resolutions, remember that your words have power. Negative words like “quit,” “never,” and “stop” make goals harder to approach. When you set a goal in terms of something you’re giving up, retrain your brain so you don’t think of the process as a negative experience. Instead, use positive words to reframe the same goal for what you want to quit. Instead of setting a goal to “quit procrastinating,” set a goal to “become a person who gets tasks done early.” This will help you focus on the positive changes you are making in your life.
Give Up the “All or Nothing” Mindset
If you slip up or don’t quite fully accomplish a goal—don’t give up. It’s important to give up an “all or nothing” mindset. Even if you don’t reach 100% of a goal, if you’ve consistently worked toward that goal for the allotted time but didn’t achieve the results you wanted, that doesn’t mean you failed. Use those incomplete goals as learning opportunities and keep going. Progress is better than perfection.