3 Surefire Ways to Help You Keep Your NY Resolution

December 27, 2016

Josh Li

Digital Marketer at Institute of Code

New Years Resolutions aren’t that bad

New Years Resolutions aren’t that bad

People give new year resolutions a bad rep.

On the one side, you’ve got the people who tell you, ‘There’s no point making new year’s resolutions. Why wait for an arbitrary date to make changes to yourself?’ On the other, you’ve got people who will make very enthusiastic, very idealistic resolutions, only to give them up a few days later.

The thing is - new year’s resolutions can suck. It doesn’t help the word ‘resolution’ is as vague and nebulous as the promises people often make to themselves when the ball drops. Also, people often adopt ‘all-or-nothing’ approaches to their goals, so if they find themselves slipping up for a brief period, they often just throw their hands up and give up!.

But does that mean you should give up on resolutions entirely?

Definitely not!

Everyone reflects back on the year that’s just passed. Sharing memories, talking about all the times - good and bad, laughing about the embarrassing moments - those are great ways to celebrate and connect. In that same vein, the start of a year is the best time to set yourself up to have those memories to talk about when the year is over.

So instead of making resolutions, it’s a good idea to set some challenges that will help make your year an exceptional one. Here are 3 ways to set these challenges so you can keep them.

1. Goals are for losers. Winners use systems.

Scott Adams, the creator of the famous Dilbert comics, famously talked about this philosophy in his blog. Goals are good for simple things, he states. However, the world moves too fast and is too unpredictable to set a winning goal for yourself reliably.

While we don’t know if we completely agree with that, but what we do agree with is his knowledge about creating systems to set yourself up for success.

For example, losing weight is a goal. Setting yourself up to go to the gym 5 days a week is a system. Even if you get there and you’re not feeling it, give yourself the option to turn back around and go home. Usually, you’ll find the anticipation of getting ready to exercise is enough to see you through.

Another typical example of a resolution is saving more money. Saving money is a goal, but a system is putting aside every $5 note that passes into your hand.

Why are systems so important, and goals are not?

That’s easy.

If you’re setting the right wrong goals for yourself, goals are hard to reach! Even the most motivated ones among us have limited supplies of willpower, and if day-by-day passes and our goals don’t seem any closer to fruition, we’ll inevitably lose steam. If we set up systems, it’s harder for us to ‘fail’ and lose motivation. Say we stuck to our system of driving to the gym every day, but one day we decided to turn around and go home, yes, we might not have gotten closer to our goal, but our system is working, and that is often good enough for the days that are harder.

2. Do less than you can

This is another statement that can seem very counter-intuitive, but just hear us out!

Many resolutions people set themselves revolve around getting more serious about hobbies - exercising more, reading more, pursuing photography more seriously (that’s me!), but even when it comes to hobby based resolutions, people often fail. That’s because when you make yourself do something repeatedly when sometimes you don’t feel like it, it can start to feel like a chore, and chores are not fun.

To prevent that from happening, always try to do less than you can. If reading 10 minutes a day is starting to feel long, then allow yourself to cut down to 8 minutes. That way, you should feell less obliged to fill certain quotas for the sake of a resolution.

3. Commit to One

For many hard-to-meet resolutions, starting is often the hardest part, followed by making time to do follow through, as well as remembering to do it.

That’s why the ‘commit to one’ philosophy is so important. For example, if your resolution is to do 10 minutes of mindful meditation every day, but you find yourself collapsed in bed after a completely insane day, commit to at least one big, mindful deep breath. It’s much better than nothing and makes you feel like you at least did something.

Commit to one can be applied to a bunch of things. One pushup if your resolution is fitness, one page if your resolution is reading more, one dollar put aside if you’re trying to save money, and so on. The barrier to entry must be so low you can’t help but do it.

Those are 3 ways to help you keep your new years resolution. Do you have any new year resolutions this year? How do you normally go? Let us know!

Written by: Josh Li

Digital Marketer at Institute of Code