Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Did you make a, or some, New Year’s resolutions on January 1st only to realize that they’re tough to stick to even for a few weeks, much less a whole year or lifetime? Add in these challenging times, lofty goals like losing 20 lbs or mastering a new musical instrument seem downright impossible.
That’s why bite-size resolutions are so much better than giant ones, especially right now. Making simple, mini-changes—rather than undertaking a huge overhaul—can reap big payoffs. Here’s why… Oftentimes, to meet a goal, people do something dramatic that cannot be maintained. However, baby steps can propel you into the right direction, and help you stay the course.
If you’ve fallen off track from your New Year’s resolutions, here are some tips to create some mini-resolutions and make them actually stick.
1. Think really small
Make each individual goal as tiny and specific as possible. It’s not enough to just say that you’ll go for a 15-minute walk most days of the week. Come up with an actual plan as to how you’ll fit them in, whether it’s waking up half an hour earlier than usual, squeezing in a stroll during lunch, or heading out for a brief jaunt before or after dinner.
2. Allow yourself the gift of time
Research shows that it takes around two months for a habit to become a learned behaviour, which means it makes sense to take it slow and focus on consistency util a mini-resolution becomes second nature.
3. Put it in writing
If you have a detailed written plan, it will end up being easier to stick with because you’ll have concrete strategies you can use to stay the course. Start by defining your goal, then make a list of things you need to do to achieve it, and jot down the obstacles that might derail you. If you are up-front about the difficulties you may encounter, and have ideas on how to overcome them, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
4. Give yourself micro-rewards along the way
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the promise of a massive payoff (like completing in a marathon) wasn’t as motivating as smaller, more immediate accomplishments. So if you have vowed to run for 30 minutes three times a week as your mini-resolution, make a point of treating yourself each week to something, whether it’s a mani/pedi or ordering in some takeout.
5. Seek social support
Friends and family can encourage you to stick with your goals. Ask them to adopt your mini resolution with you, so that you can cheer each other on and stay motivated. A 2011 study from Michigan State University published in the journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, for example, found that doing aerobic exercise with a partner, even a virtual one, motivates you to workout harder and longer than if you break a sweat completely alone. It’s also a good idea to figure out how you’ll say no if you’re in a situation that could derail your hard work.
6. Don’t blame yourself
It can be just as easy to fall off track with mini resolutions as it is with larger ones. Don’t stress if it happens to you. It’s ok and perfectly human when starting with something new. Simply pick yourself back up and get right back on track.
So, if you’ve fallen off track with your New Year’s resolutions, unpack those traditional pledges and create some new mini-goals, which can actually increase your chances of success.
Not sure how to get started? Get my Transform: The Habit Change Journal, a 365 day guided habit change journal. No matter what your goals this year are, this is the perfect sidekick to finally taking meaningful action on your self-improvement goals in every area of your life—health, money, love/relationships and your career. It offers simple steps to create big change in your life by focusing on a few new habits each month. By the end of the year, all of those small changes add up to big, beautiful and impactful changes in your life! Get it here.