A guide to keeping your New Year's resolutions now that your life is back in full swing

A guide to keeping your New Year's resolutions now that your life is back in full swing
Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

So, you made it to 2017 — and we're guessing you probably made some great resolutions to go along with this highly anticipated calendar change. You may have even spent some time formulating your goals this time around, rather than making a lackluster promise to "lose weight" or "make more friends." But now, it's well into the first week of January and you're starting to feel the pressure. Can you really keep this up all year?

Yes. If you are practical and determined, it can be done. But it's going to take some work. Here's a guide to becoming one of the 8% of people who actually pull it off. 

Don't make too many resolutions 

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Some of us are guilty of this. When the new year rolls around, we feel a rush of self-improvement fever and take on too much at once, wanting to change everything and be a totally new person. But this isn't realistic and, in truth, you'll probably wind up feeling a lot of unnecessary self-loathing by late January. Instead, try to focus on two or three main goals and allow yourself to concentrate on achieving them. 

Make achievable goals (upon goals upon goals)

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You may need to tweak your goals in order to make them attainable. For example, many people tell themselves in the new year that they're going to lose weight. But this goal isn't very specific. How much weight do you want to lose and how do you plan on doing it? 

If you are really serious about keeping your resolutions, make goals that are large and small, goals that you can measure and see. If your main resolution is to lose 10 pounds, then you should make smaller ones for the week (bringing a healthy lunch to work, taking the stairs a certain number of days a week, cutting soda from your diet), allowing you to determine how you plan to lose the weight.

When you start making smaller goals within your main resolution, you'll not only be able to see real progress, but you'll also be able to calculate it. Which brings us to our next point ... 

Measure your progress

People may mock her for her binder-keeping, but she can keep track of everything. Who's laughing now?
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If you make a resolution you can't measure or quantify, it will be difficult for you to ever determine if you're achieving anything. Indeed, being tidier is a common resolution, but, unlike losing weight, successful neatness can be tough to track 

Instead, assign measurements to your murkier goals by asking yourself at the end of every day if you've done all you could to achieve them. You can clean periodically throughout the day, clocking the amount of time you spend tidying, or set aside an hour after work to make sure everything is as organized as possible. As soon as you start adding numerical values to your resolution, you'll be able to see the progress you've made even easier ... and stick to it. 

Tell people about your resolutions

"My resolution? Well, I've decided to start a metal band."
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Another way to stay true to your New Year's promises is to tell friends, family members and even coworkers about some of the changes you've decided to make. This external pressure will help hold you accountable, and your loved ones might cheer you on as you make changes. Plus, if everyone else knows the promises you've made, it will make you want to keep them more, you know, to save face. 

Ask others for help

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Take the previous tip one step further and seek out a helping hand.

If you've decided to quit smoking, you may want to ask your roommate to help you get rid of your cigs and to stay on the ball. If you're going to lose weight, you may have a friend who wants to do the same and will hit the gym with you. Asking for help is never a bad idea, and if the people in your life want to see you succeed in keeping your resolutions, they will lend a hand whenever they can, even if it means just asking you, "Hey, didn't you say you were gonna [insert resolution here]?" when you've been slacking a little. 

Be kind to yourself

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Forbes states that "all or nothing" thinking can be devastating when you're trying to keep your New Year's resolutions. The truth is, you will probably screw up. There will be days — maybe even weeks — where you don't make it to your yoga class, where you start smoking again, or where you eat a full pizza in one sitting. 

The important thing to remember is that, when you slip up, you shouldn't keep going down the same unruly path. Don't use the fact that you smoked one cigarette to smoke a whole pack. Don't let spending money on one extravagant item when you've promised yourself to be frugal to allow you to go on a crazy shopping spree. Just pick yourself back up and start again. Don't give yourself an excuse to give up.