We’ve all been there. Suddenly it’s March and the new year resolutions/habits that you swore you’d continue have fallen by the wayside. Sometimes you’ve completely abandoned them or they’ve morphed into a different version of the original idea. Making new habits stick is hard! After the excitement and glossiness of the New Year have faded into normalcy, you can feel less compelled to keep up with the habits. In the last few years, keeping these habits during a global pandemic and changing environment has gotten even harder.
The good news? It’s okay. It’s okay if you’ve faltered. It’s okay if your once overly ambitious new habits have transformed into something different. What matters most is how you acknowledge those changes and realign your habits going forward. Remember, the start of a new year is a time for reflection to make plans for how we will grow. Below are a few tips for making your New Year’s Resolutions stick, no matter what form they’ve taken.
Reassess when needed
Whether you started out with a gigantic goal or habit change that was completely outside of your comfort zone, like quitting your job to go backpacking, or a more attainable goal like losing 10 pounds, it’s good to reassess them from time to time. Especially for these larger-than-life goals, if you realize in mid-March that these habit changes feel overwhelming, it’s okay to scale them back. Starting small is usually the best way to implement life changes so you don’t get overwhelmed. By reassessing these habits and goals regularly, you can take stock of all contributing factors that are either helping or hurting you and adjust accordingly.
Get an accountability partner
Starting new habits can be isolating, especially if they’re something you haven’t done before. A helpful way to keep yourself on track is to have an accountability partner to check in with regularly and help keep you motivated. The best choice for an accountability partner is someone also looking to make the same changes or achieve the same goals. If that isn’t possible, asking a close friend or family member is a great option. Talking to them about the change you want to make, what you’re looking to accomplish, and how they can best support you can be a good start.
Focus on one habit at a time
At the top of the year, it can be easy for us to want to revamp our entire lives. Setting multiple new habits and goals that we want to achieve in the new year seems great at the moment but can become difficult when it comes to following through. It’s hard enough to make one major change in our lives, let alone three or four, or a dozen. If you’ve started the year with a few different habits and goals in mind, now is a good time to reckon with the realities of their attainability. Don’t think of this as a failure or that you’re moving backward. Focusing on one habit or goal at a time actually shows self-control and accountability to your overall well-being. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t a badge of honor and it can hinder your ability to continue with these new habits. Try following the 21-day rule of pursuing a goal to turn it into a habit and see how you feel. If you feel like you need more time to focus on this specific activity, keep going. If you feel like a new goal is attainable, switch gears to focusing on that one. This aligns with the previous tip of reassessing as needed, as you’ll be able to gauge where you are on this journey and how you should proceed.
Don’t beat yourself up
If you enter the process of creating new habits and achieving new goals with perfection as the desired result, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. Perfection isn’t attainable. Allowing ourselves to be human and acknowledging that making changes in our lives is an ongoing process with highs and lows is a preferable mindset to have. Don’t get angry at yourself for not being perfect or hitting a wall or stalling in your goals. What’s more important is acknowledging that you have a choice in how you show up to get back on track and reinforce your habits and hit your goals. Focus on supporting yourself through these changes instead of beating yourself and see how that simple shift in mindset can change how you show up for yourself in the future.