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How to Finally Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

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How to Finally Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time again! And this year, you are going to crush your New Year’s resolutions, my friend. No joke. This year is different for one very important reason:

You’re going to set your New Year’s resolutions differently this year.

Huh?

Stick with me here. This year, instead of focusing on the end goal or what you’re not going to do, you are going to make resolutions based on habits and what you are going to do.

So let’s say you want to lose weight. Your resolution: don’t eat any dessert all year. On January 17th (you lasted that long!) you can’t take it anymore and eat a brownie. It’s all over folks! You broke your resolution, so now you can go back to eating whatever you want for the rest of the year. Womp-womp.

What went wrong? A few things about this resolution aren’t great.

  1. You focused on a negative. Instead of adding in the positive, you tried to only subtract something.
  2. There was no habit. You tried to not eat any dessert. When you failed it was just done.

I’ve found that it is much more helpful to figure out a habit that I can develop that will help me reach my goal. If I goof up for a day or two, it’s not done. I just need to keep working at developing my new habit.

I’ve got tons of ideas for you on how to make it happen this year!

Tracking Your Habits

In order to develop these new habits, it’s helpful to track them! Tracking your habits gives you an awareness that is difficult to have otherwise.

When you’re not used to going to a walk once a day, it’s not something you even think to think about. You could go weeks without even remembering that you are trying to get into that habit.

There are many ways to track a new habit, and I made up a printable habit tracker for you to get you started. If you enter your info below, I can send it over for you.

If you are working on developing a daily habit, like eating breakfast every morning, check off, color in, or put a sticker on each day that you eat breakfast. (Sidenote: Stickers are just as fun for adults as you remember them being as a kid)

The goal is to fill in every day. If you miss one here or there, remember not to throw in the towel. It’s not one strike and you’re out. It is a healthy habit you’re taking the time to create. Just keep going and get as many days in a row as you can. It can be really motivating to see a “chain” of multiple days filled in! You might try extra hard to not break the chain.

How to Finally Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year

Let’s look at seven of the most popular New Year’s resolutions people make, pinpoint some habits that would be helpful to develop, and arm ourselves with tools that will aide our quest.

Eat Healthier

It’s so vague. What does it mean? How do you know if you’ve done it? I’m all about eating healthier, but we need some specifics. What habits might you work that would cause you to achieve this resolution?

Choose one habit to work on until it comes naturally to you, then start working on another.

Habits You Might Work On:

  • Eat three servings of fruits and veggies per day.
  • Drink only water for six days a week.
  • Drink half your weight in ounces of water per day.
  • Measure or weigh out serving sizes for your less healthy snacks and desserts like chips, cereal, ice cream, or crackers.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast every morning.
  • Meal plan every week. Make sure to plan meals that are healthy and easy.

Tools to Help:

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Get More Exercise

How much is more? Just getting a gym membership may not cut it (and could be a big waste of money!).

Think of daily or weekly habits you can work on that will get you moving more.

Do not underestimate the power of tiny habits with exercise. I have lost weight and seen huge changes in my body from working out for 20 minutes, 3-4 times per week at home. You do not need to spend an hour in the gym every day to see progress.

And don’t throw in the towel if you miss a day. It’s a habit to develop, not a one strike and you’re out game.

Habits You Might Work On:

  • Go for a walk every evening after dinner or during your lunch hour.
  • Take the stairs every day if you’re used to taking the elevator.
  • Do 100 jumping jacks every day.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes each day (or 3 days per week) and do as many bodyweight exercise as you can in that time: squats, lunges, pushups, planks, etc. This is how I got started working out and 10 minutes really did make a difference in how I looked!

Tools to Help:

  • Your self! If you noticed, every one of those habits above requires nothing but you!
  • A little home equipment. My favorite “home gym” items are my resistance bands, dumbbells, and this pack of workout cards. Those are enough to give you a great workout!

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Save More Money

I’m all about setting financial goals!! There are all kinds of frugal habits that you can try to implement to save money. Choose one and work on it until it comes so naturally to you that you hardly have to think about it anymore.

Habits You Might Work On:

  • Bring a lunch to work four days per week.
  • Record your spending daily. This helped us stick to our budget while we were paying off debt.
  • Create a new budget every single month (no matter how much the last one succeeded or failed… it’s a learning process).
  • Make coffee at home every morning. Bring it with you in a travel mug if you don’t have time to drink it at home.

Tools to Help:

  • Acorns! If you want to save money without thinking about it, Acorns is connected to your accounts and rounds up every purchase you make to the next dollar. They then invest that spare change in an IRA for you. It’s basically painless retirement saving!
  • A spending tracker. You can get the spreadsheet that I use to create our budget and track our spending each month by entering your info below. Use it as an example and customize it to make it your own.

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Focus on Self-Care

I think it’s helpful to really define what you want from self-care and then choose a habit or two that will help.

Do you need more sleep? Are you looking for an hour of alone, quiet time. Do you want time to work on your hobbies? Or do you want to be able to attend a book club or dance class?

Habits You Might Work On:

  • Set yourself a bed time. Take care of yourself like you would take care of a child. Be in bed by your bedtime so that you get enough sleep.
  • Turn off the radio on your drive home from work and enjoy the quiet time.
  • Write down three things you’re grateful for each night before bed.
  • Step outside for five minutes each day and take some deep breaths.

Tools to Help:

  • The Headspace app. We’ve been using this app to meditate each night before bed and it is very helpful.
  • You phone’s alarm. Set an alarm for your bedtime each night!
  • A gratitude journal.

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Mozzie sure knows how to prioritize self care and sleep…

Read More

This year has been a year of reading for me and I’m loving it! I actually have plenty of time to read more when I stop doing mindless phone scrolling.

It’s good to get specific about how to make it a daily habit.

Habits You Might Work On:

  • Read one chapter every day.
  • Read for 15 minutes every day.
  • Take a book with you everywhere you go. When it’s with you, you’ll find yourself reading it.
  • Stop listening to the radio and listen to audiobooks everyday on your commute.
  • Delete social media apps from your phone and install the Kindle app. Every time you would normally reach for your phone and check in on Facebook, open the Kindle app and read an ebook.

Tools to Help:

  • A library card! Go sign up for one immediately if you don’t have one. Check out physical books and ask about how you can rent ebooks and audiobooks. We hardly ever pay for books because of the library services!
  • A Kindle Paperwhite. I read almost exclusively on mine and I love it to pieces! I bring it with me anytime I think I may have to wait for a few minutes. It is much easier to slip into my bag than a full-sized book.
  • An Audible membership so that you can get audiobooks. You’ll get two free audiobooks when you sign up!

Take a Look at These Posts About Reading:

Learn a New Skill

What do you want to learn and how can you make it a daily or at least weekly habit?

Habits You Might Work On:

  • Spend 15 minutes per day reading or listening to info about the skill you’re learning.
  • Schedule an hour each week to work through a course. Actually write it on your schedule and don’t change it for anything.

Tools to Help:

  • Duolingo is a totally free language-learning app. It will even remind you to spend a few minutes using it daily!
  • The library. Get a library book and use some of the “Read More” habits above to learn what you want to learn.
  • Udemy Courses.We love the courses on Udemy for learning new skills! They’re very inexpensive and high quality. My husband learned a lot of his programming skills from Udemy courses, which helped him land his current job.

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Quit Smoking

Alright, this one might be a little tricky because we’re trying to take something out instead of add something in. So let’s think on how to be effective if you’re trying to quit smoking.

The most important thing to remember is to keep working on it. If you slip up, don’t give and say “O well, I tried”. You keep going the next day.

Just like it is ridiculous for someone trying to give up desserts to eat a cupcake and then decide to eat every dessert in sight until they try again next year, it’s crazy to slip up and keep smoking for another year. When you fall down, you get back up and keep going.

Habits You Might Work On:

Most of these habits focus on what you are going to do instead of smoking. We’re adding in something healthy where you once had a bad habit.

  • Walk around the block every time you would normally take a smoke break. Take a different exit out of the building to avoid the place where you used to smoke.
  • Drink a whole glass of water every time you would normally have a smoke break.
  • Reward yourself! For every day or week that you don’t smoke, treat yourself with something little, like a favorite snack or going out to a movie. Or only watch your favorite TV show in the evening if you’ve gone the whole day without smoking.

Tools to Help:

  • Track it. See how many non-smoking days you can string together and then don’t break the chain!
  • Read about it. This is one of the highest rated books that helps people quit smoking.
  • Talk to your Doctor. They might have some tricks or suggest medication or therapy to help you out. Don’t be afraid to use every resource available.

I hope you see how developing a habit can help you be a lot more successful in accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions. If you use the daily habit tracker, you’ll be able to see how many days or weeks in a row you’ve succeeded with your habit. If you miss a day, it’s not the end. Just keep going and keep working at it. You’ll make a lot more progress that way!

⇒ What are your New Year’s resolutions? What habits do you want to develop?

How to Finally Achieve Your New Year\'s Resolutions

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