How To Set New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Keep

If you start each year with a set of fresh, well-intentioned resolutions only to ditch them as soon as you’ve stopped wishing everyone a happy New Year, you’re hardly alone: Studies show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February

While it's nice to know that we're all in the same boat, it never feels good to set an intention that you don't follow through on. The good news? There are a few tried-and-true ways to actually keep your resolutions in 2020. Here are a few of them.

1. Don't make resolutions that aren't very interesting to you.

There are a few super-popular resolutions that the majority of Americans make every year: Lose weight, exercise more, save money—to name a few. If those resolutions are high on your priority list, great. If they're not, there's no reason to set them just because everyone else is. 

Instead, set resolutions that leave you feeling excited and motivated, and don't be afraid to get creative. Want to explore your town or city's food scene more this year, or go to the movies more often? Great. Set it as a resolution, and know that being excited about it means you're a lot more likely to keep it.  

2. Write your resolutions down. 

There's a reason why vision boards are such a popular exercise: Research shows that writing down your goals and dreams will motivate you to make them happen. So whatever your resolutions are, get our your markers, colored pencils or favorite black ballpoint pen and write them down in a place where you'll see them often, and if you're a Silk + Sonder subscriber, make use of the "intentions" page. 

3. Set clear goals. 

Resolutions are a lot more likely to fail without an action plan—so put one in place ASAP. Set clear goals and milestones along the way, deciding what you'll do each quarter, each month, and even each week to make those resolutions happen.

For example, if you want to get more sleep in 2020, write out exactly what this entails. Do you want to get seven hours of sleep, or is it more like nine? Then, figure out how you'll make this happen—maybe it means saying no to social obligations more often, or turning off Netflix an hour earlier. Maybe you start by getting one hour more in quarter one, and then two hours more in quarter two. There's no shame in working up to your goal slowly if it means you're more likely to attain it! 

4. Reward yourself along the way. 

Actually following through on something you've committed yourself to is a huge deal no matter how large or small that thing is—and studies show that when you reward yourself for hitting your goals, you're a lot more likely to keep going.

So once you've set the milestones that will help you fulfill your resolutions, decide how you'll reward yourself once you hit them. These rewards can be as big as a weekend trip with friends or as small as treating yourself to an ice cream cone. Just make sure these rewards don't sabotage your resolutions (if the goal is to eat healthier, for example, rewarding yourself with an ice cream cone probably isn't the best idea.) 

5. Don't give up because you slip up.

Let's get one thing straight: Keeping New Year's resolutions is hard work, and it will take daily, intentional effort. Some days will be harder than others, and there will be days when you fall off the bandwagon completely— and that's okay. And it certainly doesn't mean you should scrap that resolution altogether.

Instead, forgive yourself. Then get up the next day and try again. We're all human, and one bad day doesn't make you a failure. You've got this!

Want to get a head start on keeping those resolutions? Subscribe to Silk + Sonder today. And while you're at it, tell us your favorite free wellness practices in the comments. 

 

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