2020 Resolutions That Work: 5 Tips for Success in the New Year

2020 Resolutions That Work: 5 Tips for Success in the New Year

‘Tis the season for weight goals, new leaves, and 30-day challenges.  The new year often brings with it the opportunity and desire for a new start.  Although New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to stick to, they tend to fare better than goals set at arbitrary times of the year.  Still, making and sticking to personal change can be difficult.  Through years of research on behavior change and health behavior theory, psychologists have identified some guidelines and tips to help you be successful in your change efforts.  

Tip #1: Prepare, prepare, prepare

Behavior change is hard enough!  Take all of the thinking out of it.  Before you set sail on your change plans, create a specific, structured, and comprehensive behavioral plan.  Think through what days and times you will practice this change, gather materials you will need, collect resources that will be helpful, and invite social supports into the process to help keep you accountable.  If you are going to start practicing yoga, make sure you are scheduling specific times in your planner to structure follow through, have your classes or videos picked out, and solicit the commitment from a yogi-partner.  On the first day of your scheduled change, you want to have all thinking and troubleshooting obstacles removed.  With enough preparation, all you have to do is show up and execute! 

Tip #2: Specificity is your Friend

Want to “exercise more”?  What kind of exercise, and what exactly will constitute “more”?  The more specific you can make your goals, the better able you will be able to track progress and the more structure you will add to your plan.  Make sure your goal is designed in such a way that it is concrete, specific, and measurable.  “I will practice vinyasa flow yoga using Kvell app yoga videos on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:15pm for 20 minutes per session”. Bonus points for using the Kvell to-do list to organize your resources, track your progress, and schedule your follow through!

Tip #3: Have a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C

Life happens, and often it happens in just the right way to derail us from our best-laid plans.  Anticipate and plan for barriers!  Raining during your scheduled morning run?  Do a HIIT video from the comfort of your living room.  No healthy food options at the airport?  Come prepared with a prepped meal and healthy snacks.  Having plans for specific barriers or potential difficulties will help you stay on track and increase your confidence in your change process.  As you go, you’ll learn more about different challenges that arise and how you can support yourself through them. 

Tip #4: Start Small

Huge lifestyle overhauls, restrictive diet plans, and plans that don’t account for everyday, competing demands are doomed to fail.  The enthusiasm and motivation that accompanies a fresh start is so bursting with energy that sometimes we bite off more than we can chew.  Channel that positive motivation into planning, and set up for gradual and consistent steps towards your best life.  Titrate your goals down to a level that allows you to experience the rewards and confidence-boost of success.  As you master one level of change, slowly increase the duration, frequency, or magnitude of the targeted change.  In this way, your change becomes part of your lifestyle, rather than part of an all-or-nothing and difficult to sustain transformation attempt. 

Tip #5: Listen to Yourself

Ultimately, you are the master and designer of your own journey.  Take a step back when you need.  Pursue goals that speak to your deepest held values and dreams.  Ask for support when you’re struggling.  Change is hard; be gentle with yourself in your efforts and offer yourself compassion when things don’t go as planned.  Every slip-up or challenge is just an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what works for you.  Remember that everyday is an opportunity to make a new start.  Thank you for allowing Kvell to be a part of your journey.  Let us know what your New Year’s resolutions are and tips for staying accountable to yourself in the comments below!  


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