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4 Ways to Set—and Keep—Your Next New Year’s Resolution

The time-honored tradition of making New Year’s resolutions dates back to ancient Babylonians 4,000 years ago . Today, 40-45% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions each year. With the new year almost here, now is the perfect time to think about your resolution for 2022.

Make this year ahead the year you exercise more, eat better, or vow to live life to the fullest. Or, simply choose to cut back on bad habits or to spend more time with friends. No matter what your resolutions are for this coming year, it’s now time to plan how to achieve them.

Unfortunately, many people have trouble sticking with their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, 80% of resolutions are abandoned by February . But just because they can be elusive doesn’t mean resolutions are impossible. Goal setting is an important part of resolution success and can improve mental health . Here’s how to set and keep your next New Year’s resolution:

Select One Simple Resolution

When thinking about your New Year’s resolution, keep it simple. We all aspire to do so many things, but overwhelming yourself with an extensive list of resolutions will quickly feel unattainable. Your resolution doesn’t have to be a hefty goal, and it especially shouldn’t be something you do not think you can achieve.

Instead, choose one simple resolution you could accomplish today. Simple resolutions include drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, listening to more music, or stretching more often. You could aspire to journal throughout the new year or stay more in touch with loved ones . Selecting your resolution is a big first step. Make a list of your top three choices and narrow it down to the one you’re most likely to keep and enjoy doing throughout the year.

Write It Down

Once you have selected your resolution, make it official. Write down your resolution on a sheet of paper. Writing down your resolution helps you focus and reminds you of its importance. Next, find the perfect place to store that piece of paper. Select somewhere you know that you’ll see it every day. Save it beside your bed, tape it to a mirror, or carry it in your wallet. Choose a spot where it will not get lost or damaged. Seeing your resolution as you go about your day will remind you of the goal you set and help you keep working toward achieving it.

Plan for Setbacks

Maintaining a New Year’s resolution is hard work! That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Prepare for any setbacks you might encounter throughout the year with the right tools in your toolkit. Know that there might be times when it is more difficult to stick to your resolution. Plan for those days. If your goal is to be more in touch with loved ones, set yourself up for success by creating a list of those you want to call at the beginning of each month, and check off the list as you go. Or, if you want to drink more water, ensure a glass is by your bedside for when you wake up in the morning to start your day off right. It is also important to ensure that others you hold in high regard know about your resolution since telling them may help you keep it, especially on difficult days.

If you begin finding it hard to meet your resolution, remind yourself of why you set it in the first place. Chat with a friend or journal to remind yourself of your reasons for making your resolution, and you’ll be back on track in no time.

Celebrate Your Successes

Big successes start small. It is so exciting to meet your goals and uphold your resolution. But, you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to reward yourself for your perseverance. Instead, set milestones and check-in points for yourself throughout the year. Sticking to your resolution each week or month is a big deal.

Many resolutions turn into lifestyle changes, and the best way to create habits is little by little. Following these four tips will help you set and keep your New Year’s resolution.

Hilary Young Author

Hilary Young is a writer dedicated to helping older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives. You can find her on Twitter as @hyoungcreative.

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