We have all tried a New Year’s Resolution, and most of us have failed. Common New Year’s Resolutions include getting in better shape, reading more, and doing more with family. These all seem like good ideas, yet it is almost a cliche now that New Year’s resolutions fail. It is strange to think that they fail so often, it seems perfect. We put so much emphasis on the New Year and “a new start” that it makes sense to start the year off with a habit that we really want to do. So why do we have such a hard time with it? It all has to do with changing habits. Habits are regular activity or practice that we do, and our bodies really like them. That is why it is so hard for them to change. Still, it is to improve our physical health, mental health, or lifestyle, then a new habit might be worth the effort. Below are some types that will make your New Year’s resolution easier.

Be Specific with Your Goal
If you want to change your habits, you have to be specific about what you want. Getting in better shape might seem straightforward enough, but when you look at it there is a lot that it could mean. Does getting in shape mean losing weight? Eating more healthily? Putting on muscle? Maybe there is a habit that you do such as smoking or drinking that needs to end to get in better health. All of these goals fall under the umbrella of getting in better shape. Why does this matter? Because each of these requires a different plan. Speaking of…

Create a solid plan
Okay, so you decided that you wanted to get in better shape by losing weight. Wonderful. Now, how are you going to do it? Let’s say that you want to lose weight by eating healthy and working out. For eating healthy, how will you do that? Creating a diet is a great step. That may require research at first or talking with an expert. For working out, how often are you going to work out every week? Will you work with a trainer? What exercises will you do? Keeping a plan like this will make the habit change you want to see easier and will help hold you accountable.

Create a Schedule
Let us say that your new year’s resolution is to get more organized in the house. You have the specific goal of getting rid of clutter. You created a solid plan of taking one section of the house at a time. A wonderful start, but when are you going to do this? Are you going to do something once a day, once a week? What time would you like to dedicate to this activity? The issue is that if you just say you will get to it or do it “later” months can go by and you will eventually forget about it. Creating a timeline will keep you on track.

Find someone to do it with
Not only does working out with someone seem more fun, but it will also hold accountability for you. There are no “skip” days if you are doing it with someone. So much of changing habits is about accountability, and having someone directly holding you accountable as you hold them accountable is one of the best tools to help lack motivation.

Reward Yourself
You did it. You went a whole week without using Facebook on your phone. That was not easy. You deserve a treat, maybe a special dinner or a night out. Having something to look forward to is a great way to help smooth the transitions of changing habits. If you know what the reward is before you start, even better.

Changing habits is hard, and there will be setbacks. It will also take sacrifice. That is okay. What matters is that you keep going. With consistency, you will see the improvements you want in your life. The wonderful news is that you do not have to wait until the New Year to do this. You can change your habits any time you want. So what is stopping you from doing this?

If this sounds like the situation you or someone you care about is confronting, please contact Good Therapy’s team of licensed professional counselors and therapists today at 630-473-3971.