The Easiest Way to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Use this quick and easy method to keep your New Year's Resolutions

Credit: Flickr/Michael Coghlan

Making New Year’s Resolutions is easy. Keeping them is the hard part

Happy New Year! How are your New Year’s resolutions holding?

I deliberately waited until the end of the first week of the New Year to write about resolutions.

It’s easy to come up with them but it’s an entirely different animal trying to keep them.

By now I’m sure more than a few people have started to see cracks developing in their resolve. But fear not; I’ve got a quick and easy solution for you.

Focus: The First Part to Making Your Resolutions Stick

First, I want you to write out a list of your top five resolutions or goals.

Next, rank them in order of importance – from most important to least important. Here’s a tip. Make the most important resolutions the ones you feel most strongly about. You’ve got to really, really want it.

Got your list?

Good, now review it and make sure it’s in the order you want with your most desired resolution in the top spot.

Now cross out the bottom four resolutions. Trying to change too much in your life at once is a sure way to fail. Focusing on one change at a time is your best chance for success.

Forming Habits: The Second Part to Lasting Resolutions

After you’ve narrowed your focus to the one resolution you want to last, you need to make it run on autopilot by making it a habit.

To do this, first think of all the actions you can take that will keep your resolution. For example, let’s use the common resolution of losing weight. Here are things you could do to lose weight:

  • Decrease portion sizes at one or more meals.
  • Ride your bike to work.
  • Lifts weights.
  • Run.
  • Make meals at home and eat out less.
  • Skip dessert.
  • Cut out alcohol and other calorie containing drinks; or cut back on the number of drinks per week.
  • Eat meals more slowly.
  • Walk 30 minutes every day.
  • Do a fast once per week.
  • Keep a food log.

There are many more. You could list dozens of types of exercise or ways to cut down on how much you eat. Aim to get a list of at least four action steps you can take that will keep you on track.

The next step is crucial. Look over your action list and pick the one that is the easiest to do and implement in your life.

Most of us already feel like we’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it; you want to choose something that won’t complicate your life even further.

Using the example of weight loss, you might decide that eating slower is the easiest and quickest change you can make. Beginning with your next meal and for every meal over the next two weeks you’ll eat your meals slowly.

After two weeks you’ll choose another change and add that to your life. Choose the next easiest action you can incorporate into your routine. Follow that for two weeks and then add another.

By adding only one change every two weeks you’ll be much more likely to make it a habit and stick to it.

If you manage to get through your entire action list or you reach your desired goal, go back to your New Year’s Resolution list and pick out item number two. It may take you a month or two or three but you’ll probably develop some solid habits related to your number one resolution. Follow the same procedure for the other resolutions you crossed out or come up with another goal.

Try it. It sounds simple but over the course of one year you’ll have developed 26 new habits!