Quick—what were your New Year’s resolutions last year?
If you’re scratching your head, thinking, “Oh, those … ?”, you’re not alone. As optimistic as we are when we make all those grand plans for changing our lives for the better, the fact is those resolutions are easily forgotten shortly after the champagne has lost its fizz.
In fact, according to at least one study, more than 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions have been ditched by the second week in February. That doesn’t mean New Year’s resolutions aren’t worth making, it just means that … perhaps … most people need to make better resolutions.
Which is why we’re back, doling out some dos and don’ts for writing New Year’s resolutions that stick.
Do get specific with your resolutions
A resolution is defined as “the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.” To resolve means “to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something).”
This is all well and good, but resolutions alone aren’t going to change anything. It’s the action you take to carry through a resolution that really matters. So, as you’re making your resolutions, also identify specific strategies to help you keep them.
For example, if your resolution is to save money, determine ways you can do this, such as setting up an automatic deposit made each month to a savings account, or consider an app, such as Acorns, that automatically deposits your “spare change” into an investment account.
In general, the more positive actions you create to meet your goals (and the more you can automate), the easier keeping your resolutions will be.
Don’t keep making the same resolutions
If you’ve vowed for the last five years to lose five pounds, it may be time for a different resolution. Tweak the goal a bit and focus on health habits instead of a number on the scale—like exercising for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week or adding more fresh produce to your grocery cart every week.
Also, think beyond the standard money and weight-loss goals to smaller things that can add joy to your life. Maybe that means buying some plants to spruce up your place (and also attempting to keep them alive), learning to cook one new thing each month, or learning a new word each day.
There are no rules to restrict your resolutions, so think big, think small, think off the wall!
Do write down your resolutions
Even if you never show them to anyone else, the act of writing down your goals makes them more real. There’s something about seeing them in writing that often makes people feel more committed and more inclined to achieve their goals.
In fact, according to one study, people who write their goals down are 42% more likely to achieve them. Also, there’s nothing like taking a pen and crossing them right off that page.
Don’t keep your resolutions a secret
Accountability is huge, and sometimes knowing that your mom, coworker, or BFF may ask you how your resolution is going can be a huge motivator. So, share your resolutions with people you see and talk to frequently and/or find others with similar goals and help keep each other accountable.
Consider using social media platforms to share your resolutions and celebrate milestones along the way.
Don’t give up
Too often we take an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to goals. We use one little slip-up as an excuse to just ditch our resolutions all together, convincing ourselves we’ll never succeed.
Instead, go easy on yourself. Realize that one setback doesn’t mean you can’t continue moving forward, and remember to celebrate milestones along the way. Little steps along the way add up to major progress in the end.
Do write your New Year’s resolutions with proper grammar 😉
We can’t end this list without a little grammar lesson too, especially since the apostrophe gives plenty of people trouble when it comes to a new year. (Note: new year is lowercased here with no apostrophe because it’s not a specific year we’re talking about.)
For example, New Year’s resolutions is correct with a lowercase r, but the D in New Year’s Day is capitalized because it’s a holiday.
Likewise, New Year’s Eve is all capped, but a New Year’s party is not. You can check this handy New Year’s vs. New Year guide for more on a perfectly punctuated 2020.
The final word on New Year’s resolutions
So, as the new year dawns, start thinking about the changes you want to make and the things you want to accomplish.
Then take it a step further: write those resolutions down and commit to seeing them through. Then, next year, when we ask about your goals, you’ll be able to proudly tout (and remember) your progress.
Extra credit: unique word resolutions to try this year
Looking for a resolution to make in general? We’ve got a couple wordie resolutions we’re happy to share (actually a whole slideshow’s worth). Maybe one will work for you this year (if you follow the steps above, of course).