I’m a few days late with this topic but I figure as long as it’s January we’re still in the clear. After all, as long as you get started in January, it still counts as a New Year’s resolution, right?
I’ve always been a fan of resolutions, despite the fact that my track record isn’t stellar in this realm. I make them at the start of the year, and then usually again around my birthday, and then at the beginning of random months at times. There’s something about a clean slate that really appeals to my personal development-obsessed side. While others groan about the cliched-ness of it all and repeat that you can get started on a goal on any old day, I don’t see any harm in embracing the growth atmosphere that is inevitably in the air at this time of year.
With that said, motivation is always highest when a new idea strikes. It wanes over time and one day you’ll find that you really don’t see the point in putting in the effort anymore. So you skip days and then weeks and eventually you don’t remember the resolution at all. By the start of the next year, you might even forget to the point where you make the same resolution without realizing it at all (I know I’ve done this before).
This is the year that I vow to follow through on my resolution to really commit to and form a regular yoga practice. Here’s how I plan on making it happen.
8 Tips to Make and Keep Your New Year’s Resolution
1. Write it Down
As I said above, eventually motivation wanes and you might start skipping days when it come to your resolution. If nothing else, this is a reminder to come back to it, to not forget it. That being said, there’s something about writing things down that makes them feel a lot more solid, real. Just the act of writing something down boosts the chances that it will actually happen. This small act could end up having huge payoffs.
2. Know Your Reasons
Think through your reasons when you make a resolution — the more you have, the easier it will be to convince yourself to keep going on those days where you just want to call it quits.
My reasons for doing yoga regularly are based on creating a more balanced mental state, practicing self-care, and improving flexibility. These things will allow me to do better work, deal with my anxiety and be more positive, and be able to perform better in the other forms of exercise I engage in.
3. Be Specific (Follow a Program if Possible)
Whether you follow someone else’s plan or make your own, you need to have some idea about how you’re going to accomplish your resolution. Coming up with a goal and then not planning out the steps to achieve it rarely results in success. There are plenty of resources at your fingertips if you don’t know how to go about planning on your own (I am currently following a free 30-day yoga challenge on Youtube).
4. Ease Into it and Give Yourself Deadlines
When you first start something, it’s tempting to go all in and do a massive overhaul of your life and habits. Don’t do it — I mean, unless you have a good past record with that approach.
Start small and aim for a day at a time, then a week, then a month. Planning for a year (or forever) can feel daunting. Training yourself to simply concentrate on the short term will help you form habits that will get you there eventually.
As I said above, I’m concentrating mainly on these 30 days and taking it slow by taking a break from my regular exercise routine for a week or so to fully concentrate on creating a yoga habit. In a few days, I’ll add that back in addition to my daily yoga. By the end of those 30 days, I’ll move on to another 30-day challenge. Take it in steps.
5. Allow Slip-ups
There will be a time when you fail at sticking to your resolution. Maybe you’ll ruin your diet with some greasy takeout or skip a few days at the gym or forget to write in your journal for a week straight. It’s not the slip-up that matters, it’s that you pick back up eventually and keep going. It’s OK to take those stressful days off, but if you want to make something a habit, you’ve got to learn how to overcome those missteps. Giving up entirely is what we’re trying to avoid here.
6. Learn to Self-Motivate
Yes, telling other people what you are doing might make you feel accountable to someone, but no one else is going to provide you with the motivation you need to achieve a goal day-in and day-out. You need to connect with your reasons for choosing your resolution and make the tough decision to follow through even when you really don’t feel like it.
7. Don’t be Overly Ambitious
A complete life overhaul is not something that happens easily. It takes lots of commitment and determination. Dividing your willpower between multiple goals is a good way to ensure that none of them are successful. Aside from that, sometimes things just take longer than a year to happen.
The best way to maximize your probability of success is to 1. be realistic about what you want to achieve, and 2. focus in one one goal at a time.
8. Rely on Habit, not Motivation
As much as self-motivation is an important concept here, when it comes down to it, habit is what will get you through some of those tougher days. It’s what gets you to show up on days when you really aren’t feeling it.
Cultivating good habits isn’t always easy, but it’s the real way of achieving your overarching goals. You need to put in the work every day to get where you want to be.