The promise of a new year and a fresh start can prompt us into making new year’s resolutions we have every intention of seeing through to the end. But, come February, it’s conveniently forgotten, and we quickly fall back into our old habits.

Young woman running through sunlit trees

We’ve all done it, most of us more than once, but this year you can make sure failure is not an option. Here are ten strategies you can use to help you stick to your guns and enjoy the rewards from successfully achieving your resolutions, whatever they may be.

  1. Celebrate Your Milestones

Break up your goals into milestones, and when you reach one, have a mini celebration to reward yourself. For instance, if you’re an ex-smoker, you could reward yourself with a nice meal out by using the savings you would have spent on cigarettes.

If your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, add in a cheat day as a reward for eating healthy all week. Milestones break up the monotony and help you keep your mind on the value of what you are trying to achieve.

  1. Believe in Yourself

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are probably right. Why not believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals? Positive thinking, affirmations, and self-pep-talks can go a long way towards providing the necessary motivation you need to keep going.

  1. Make Yourself Accountable by Confiding in a Friend

You shouldn’t be embarrassed about improving your life, so share your goals with a close friend and let them know what you are trying to achieve. When it’s a friend you respect greatly, you will feel like you are letting them down (as well as yourself) if you don’t make progress towards your goals.

You must confide in close friends you know you can trust as there are too many who will take great delight in seeing you fall and may even encourage it. Good friends will want to see you succeed but will understand if you falter.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Start Over

When you are working towards your goals, but your technique is a little off, don’t be afraid to discard it to so you can take a different approach. It may be a bit frustrating at first, but you will eventually hit on something that works, and the results will be worth it.

  1. Stay Positive

It’s easy to focus on the negatives and use them as an excuse to throw in the towel. You may have set your goals too high. Re-examine your resolutions and dial them back if you need to.

For example, instead of giving up cigarette’s cold turkey, try changing your habit by using patches or nicotine gum to ease the cravings.

If you are attempting to eat a healthier diet, don’t go all-in at the beginning. Instead, try swapping out one fatty food with a healthier variety, or have fruit instead of cake for dessert. Add more healthy foods as you get used to the changes.

  1. Change Your Resolution

If you have been making the same resolution year in, year out, try something different this year. Put your focus on another, possibly easier to achieve resolution. Once you have some success, you will develop an appetite for more.

  1. Baby Steps

If you resolve to enter and finish your first marathon, nobody will expect you to don your running gear and achieve it the very next day. You need to ease it into it. The same can be said for any resolution. Start at the beginning and work your way towards it one step at a time.

man and woman working out in a gym

  1. Stick to the Routine

Resolutions get dropped by the wayside because people make the excuse of not having enough time. Make it a priority and work it into your schedule, so you get into the habit of moving a little further along every week.

  1. Be Specific

Your resolution needs to be specific. A goal to lose weight is excellent. However, you will have more success if you be more specific. Instead of saying “I will lose weight,” tell yourself “I will lose 10 pounds by the end of February.” The former is too ambiguous, while that latter is measurable and attainable.

  1. Set Resolutions You Care About

When a resolution matters a great deal to you, you will be more likely to do the tasks that will help you achieve it.

Counseling can provide you with the support to discard old habits and create new healthy ones. Read more about how it works here: Habits & Addictions