Maintaining Momentum on Your New Year’s Goals

Still going strong on your 2016 New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like most, you may have already broken a few. In fact, about 25% of people who make New Year’s resolutions abandon them within the first week. By three months, that number has jumped to 50%.1

It’s pretty easy to stay committed those first few days. Feelings of excitement and hope over getting a fresh start give you the initial momentum. But then, the excuses often begin. You were too tired to exercise when the alarm went off. Your favorite show came on just when you cracked open a textbook. And on and on.

So is crossing the finish line just not worth the effort? It isn’t surprising that there are several perks to consistently achieving your goals. In addition to increased self-esteem, you’ll be more likely to gain influence among your friends and co-workers and may even earn more income throughout your lifetime, among many other benefits.2

If you’ve already abandoned your New Year’s resolutions, don’t worry. It’s not too late to recommit — or even set new ones. Losing weight, picking up a new hobby and taking a college course are some popular options to consider.

When you do decide on your goals, below are a few tips that will help ensure you’re among the faithful few who stick to them and achieve success.

Keep it simple

Don’t make your list of resolutions too long. You’ll have more energy to dedicate to one or two of your most important goals than if you spread yourself thin with 10 to 20 less-important ones.

Be specific

Resolving to get in shape is a great goal, but it’s hard to measure your success. Instead, commit to running three miles every week. When you can chart real progress, you’re more likely to keep pushing forward.

Break it down

Goals with a longer time commitment, like earning a bachelor’s degree, don’t have to be overwhelming, especially if they’re broken down into bite-size tasks. Celebrating your success after completing each milestone, such as at the close of a semester, class or even major exam, will help you stay motivated.

Go public

Share your goals with a close friend or family member who can help keep you accountable. You’ll be much less likely to break a resolution when someone else is cheering you on.

Check in regularly

Make it a weekly or even daily practice to evaluate your progress, whether it’s recording it in a journal or talking to a friend. If you have broken a resolution, determine what happened so you can avoid that pitfall in the future, and then recommit to meeting your goals.


1 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/01/07/its-january-7-and-a-quarter-of-us-have-already-abandoned-our-new-years-resolutions/
2 http://www.livestrong.com/article/537871-what-are-the-advantages-of-achievement-motivation/