I love New Years. I love the thought of fresh beginnings and resolutions and new life. Though I believe any day is a great day to begin again, there’s still something special about a brand new (albeit) arbitrary start of the year. So if you’ve got any big promises and plans lined up for the upcoming year, I’ve got some tried-and-tested strategies to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
Be sure to share your resolutions with me in the comments below!
The Tracking Strategy
You know how you can start a new resolution to, say, exercise more or eat less sugar or save more money? And you do great for the first couple of days or weeks, then eventually you just…fall off?
That’s where this first strategy to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions comes in. And that strategy is called tracking (you could also call it monitoring).
Tracking is a super effective way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Because it means checking up on your progress and constantly monitoring how you’re doing, you leave no loopholes and aren’t falling off your habits and goals for, say, weeks at a time.
The best way to make this strategy work to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions is making sure what you’re tracking is measurable in the first place. So it could be your weight, number of miles you ran, money you’ve saved, deadlines you’ve met, projects you’ve finished, and so on.
Apps to help: Habitify, Habitbull
The Education Strategy
When I was younger, about 15 or 16 years old, I completely swore off ice cream and didn’t have a single spoon of that creamy, yummy dessert for two whole years. This was insane to me because I’d always eaten ice cream, probably every other day on some weeks. It was my comfort food, one of my favorite things to have when I needed to end a meal.
So why did I swear off it for so long?
Well, it had to do with something I read online about the negative effects of sugar. We already know too much sugar is bad and all that stuff they tell us in biology or nutrition class, but it was really when I made the conscious effort to learn why sugar was bad for me did I really kick it out of my diet.
You see, educating yourself – even just answering why a particular goal or habit or resolution is important to you – can be a really effective way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
Make the effort to get to know the realities of the world or your own realities. In my two-year sugar-free days, the reality of the world was that sugar could cause diabetes, hormonal imbalances, cancer, and all these bad things I didn’t want to happen to me; and my personal reality was that I wanted to stay happy and healthy – and I didn’t mind giving up ice cream, one of the sugariest foods on the planet.
How to get started on the education strategy: Read scientific journals, do constant reflecting, or ask professionals for information
The Strategy of Rewards
I’m a big believer in the power of #treatyoself. This is another great strategy to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
Reward yourself when you stick to your resolutions, and take away something for when you don’t.
You can even set milestones to keep things interesting. Say, one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to start a habit of writing more. Maybe you want to build up a portfolio before you start a freelance side hustle, for example. Or you want to write a book just because.
So you can reward yourself for every 2,000 words you write. That can be treating yourself with a face mask while watching your favorite sitcom, or watching that new blockbuster in the cinemas this weekend.
Just be sure your rewards and treats actually help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.
That means not rewarding yourself in advance (that’s a loophole!) and not rewarding yourself with treats that go against what you’re trying to achieve. (Like ordering a cheeseburger meal with a milkshake to treat yourself after a 30-minute run to help you lose weight – that just doesn’t make sense!)
Tools to help you treat yourself: Milestone trackers
The Strategy of Pairing
I love the strategy of pairing, and I use it for all sorts of things. There are a couple of ways you can use this strategy to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
The first is pairing up things you can do at the same time. I do this with things like doing squats while brushing my teeth (that’s 3 whole minutes of squats!). Or going on a walk or run while listening to entrepreneurship podcasts.
The other way you can use pairing is doing something immediately before or after another habit. For example, I used to use my time after dinner to develop my writing habit. Once I finished dinner, I would immediately go to my laptop and start writing for about 15 to 30 minutes. I also use this to keep up my goal of journaling every day – I would take some supplements at night, so I made it a point to journal right after swallowing those pills.
This strategy actually works great when you pair habits at the same time. Want to get more exercise in your day? Try doing squats while brushing your teeth! Need to walk more? Play a movie on the treadmill or listen to a podcast while on a jog.
The Strategy of Games
I’m a firm believer in gamifying for becoming more productive and sticking to new habits. After all, I’ve had a load of fun putting this strategy in place myself!
My favorite app to implement this strategy is Habitica. In the app, you’re a fun little character (avatar included, of course) that gets to earn coins and EXP when you complete good habits, or lose coins and EXP when you fall into bad habits.
I also love the app’s feature to form what you call a Party. Meaning you can invite friends, go on Quests, and then keep each other accountable. You all gain coins and EXP if your quest goes well – meaning everyone does their job and sticks to their good habits – and you use those coins and EXP to level up, buy new items, and jazz up your profile.
The Strategy of Scheduling
Ask any die-hard productivity superstar, and they probably have a schedule.
Here’s a great reminder to keep in mind:
If it’s not on your calendar, then it doesn’t exist.
This can be anything – from appointments to new routines you want to set. If you really want to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, then you need to make a schedule.
No one knows the comings and goings of your life better than you do, so you’re really the best person who can come up with the best schedule.
Try time-blocking or task batching to help you in the strategy of scheduling. Time blocking is when you designate a task to a specific time, while task batching is designating completing a certain task on a specific day.
Want to see how I do task batching for my blog? Check out my Instagram post!
The Strategy of Visualizing
I used to think visualizing was hoo-hah and didn’t really work. Until, that is, I realized it freaking wasn’t baloney and actually worked!
You see, the strategy of visualizing means being extra clear about where you want to be. And that can be a huge help in helping you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions!
Let’s say my goal for New Year’s was to lose some weight (who doesn’t have that on their list of goals every year, huh?). If I clearly visualize myself fitter, leaner, and healthier – working out five times a week, eating right, and drinking enough water – then chances are I’ll do whatever I can to achieve this goal.
Visualize what the end point of your journey looks like. What happens after you’ve stuck to these resolutions? What do you now have (or not have) upon accomplishing your goal?
Don’t be shy. The more specific and real your visualizing is, the better!
The Strategy of 10-Minute Rules
I first mention the 10-minute rule here. And I will absolutely never stop talking about this.
You see, I always say that there are so many things we can do in just 10 minutes or less. If you want to check out some ideas, here’s a post I wrote on 15 productive things to do with your next 10 free minutes. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!
I’ve always argued that you can spend 10 minutes doing something and get a lot done. After all, 10 minutes’ worth of work every day for, say, a side hustle or business or passion project, is still 10 minutes’ worth of work you wouldn’t have gotten done if otherwise.
One of the principles I always preach when waving this strategy around is letting go of perfection. You know what I mean.
Waiting for that “perfect” moment or bolt of inspiration to hit. Or having to make sure your work comes out perfect the first time.
Well, that’s a load of bull. No conditions will ever be perfect all the time. No output is going to be perfect the first time.
That’s why the 10 minute rule is so important. You can stick to your New Year’s resolutions just 10 minutes a day and still see significant progress by the time the year ends.
The Accountability Strategy
Think back to when you were in school and you had to do a project in a group. Was it easier to finish things when all of you were working on things together?
Or thought another way: wasn’t it easier to stick to doing your part of the project when you knew people were counting on you to finish?
So many of us thrive off of accountability. Whether it’s from a friend, a parent, a boss, or a teammate, there’s something about having other people depending on us that helps us stick to deadlines or habits.
Accountability in the form of a trusted person is one of the best ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions. Have someone monitor your goals and projects with you, and it’s easier to make progress in an effort to not let anyone down (kindly, of course!).
You can even get creative with your accountability partner. Try to set interesting rules to spice things up. For example, my partner and I one year wanted to keep each other accountable to our fitness.
To make things interesting for the both of us, we had a cool rule: if one person misses their workout for the day, the other person isn’t allowed to work out the next day.
It was a fantastic twist. My partner and I didn’t want to let the other person down by barring them from their daily workout, especially because we’d been too lazy to stick to our habit.
This is just one example of a way to make things more interesting, which is ultimately just another way to add novelty—which, as you might know if you’ve been ’round these parts before, is a way to make us happier.
Where can I find an accountability partner?
Need an accountability partner? Here’s a pro-tip: don’t pick someone too close to you, as sometimes we don’t take our promises and accountability that seriously. It helps to have an acquaintance or even a coach help you stay on your habits and resolutions.
If you want a kind and gentle accountability partner, then book a one-on-one call with me! I keep my clients accountable to their biggest goals and habits, and even help you find the best methods and strategies to hit your goals faster and more sustainably.
Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions Easy-Breezy
Did you enjoy my list of these 9 simple strategies, my friend? Well, I’ve got something even better to help!
My planner The Goal-Getter Playbook is designed to help someone like you with a big resolution, goal, or project to cut the crap, get stuff done, and feel great every step of the way.
It’s littered with all kinds of introspective prompts, goal-setting roadmaps, and milestone trackers so that you actually slay your goals this year. Want to learn more about it? Click below, yo!