Use these 7 science-based strategies to make your resolutions stick this year

For most of us, the new year means new goals, dreams, and habits. Whether you’re trying to be more active, practice a new hobby, or save money, we have science-based strategies to help you stick to your resolutions all year long. Georgetown Psychology professor Jelena Kecmanovic says these 7 steps are the key to success for the 93% of people who set New Year’s resolutions.

  1. Clarify and honor your values: Why are you setting this resolution? Pick goals that reflect and honor what you truly value and they will be easier to stick to.
  2. Frame your goals and life in positive terms: Rather than telling yourself you can’t have sugar on weekdays, commit to substituting in one healthy snack instead. Studies have shown that resolutions that focus on gratitude for what you can have, rather than what you can’t, are more effective.
  3. Change your environment: Avoiding sugary snacks is a lot easier if you don’t keep a jar of candy on your desk. Recruiting friends or coworkers to join in on your resolutions can also help you stick to them. Consider taking a workout class with a friend or create a cooking club to make healthy recipes to enjoy together!
  4. Be prepared with “if-then” strategies: Even the most disciplined resolutioners will suffer slip-ups. Find strategies to get back on track if you feel yourself neglecting your goals. Find online blogs to turn to for motivation or seek out an exciting new hike to try if you’re getting bored with your old workout routines.
  5. Use a gradual approach: Small, attainable goals are far more likely to be fulfilled. Start by walking one mile, reading one chapter, or cutting out one cup of coffee.
  6. Image rewards and enjoy them: Relish the endorphins of exercise or picture yourself taking a day off work once you pay off all your credit card debt. Focusing on the benefits of your goals will help you stick to them.
  7. Be kind to yourself, even during setbacks: Cut yourself some slack. Nobody is perfect and truly important goals are difficult to implement. Be compassionate with yourself and remember it’s okay to let yourself have the occasional sweet treat, take a rest day, or binge-watch that new TV show. 

The new year is a wonderful opportunity to set new goals and strive for self-betterment. Use these strategies to formulate and practice resolutions that stick this year!

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