The end of January is here and it’s only been a month since you declared your New Year’s resolution. If you’ve already broken your goal, don’t give up just yet. Give your resolution another shot with a few tips from Rachel Fogelberg, clinical social worker from the University of Michigan’s Department of Ambulatory Psychiatry.
1. Create a Realistic Goal – And Truly Believe You Can Accomplish It
“Wanting something different for your life is a great start, but it’s often not enough,” says Fogelberg. “We hear a lot about setting realistic goals, and that is important, but often we don’t actually believe we can meet the goals that we set.”
Fogelberg suggests creating “a vision of what life will look and feel like” after accomplishing your goals. “Ask yourself ‘how will these changes affect the choices I make?’” she says. “Creating and keeping a vision won’t make keeping a New Year’s resolution easy, but it will offer more clarity on what it will take to achieve and maintain specific and realistic goals.”
2. Identify the Type of Support You Need Before Leaning On a Loved One
Support can come in many forms — physical, emotional, and financial. Fogelberg emphasizes the importance of identifying and discussing the types of support you need from a loved one to accomplish your goals.
“If the changes I am making will influence or impact others, I probably need to get their buy in beforehand,” says Forgelberg.
“For example, if I plan to workout at the gym three evenings every week, I need to talk to my partner about scheduling, childcare, and gym fees,” she continues. “Since these logistics might present some challenges for both of us, it can be helpful for me to share my vision so my partner can understand how important this is to me.”
3. Change Your Environment
“When we are looking to make changes, we need to consider what we need to change about our environment in order to be successful,” says Fogelberg. She suggests making simple changes in your home and office area to stay motivated, such as removing the candy bowl in the office and replacing it with healthier snacks.
“Some changes can even act as incentives – if my goal requires healthier eating and drinking choices, it may be helpful to buy myself a fancy new water bottle to keep at my desk.”
4. Remember: Forming a New Habit Takes Time
No matter how far along you are in your resolution, remember that new habits won’t instantly stick right away. “Unlike the flip of a calendar page, change is a process, rather than an event,” she says.
Fogelberg says initial efforts need to be intentional and deliberate. “The process isn’t quick, but the additional time and effort can boost your ability to turn a years’ worth of thoughts into life-changing actions.”