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5 Things to Do If You’re Struggling with Your New Year’s Resolutions

A woman writing new year's resolutions in a journal.

Every Jan. 1, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. While most are excited and optimistic when setting these goals, life tends to get in the way pretty quickly. In fact, many people abandon their resolutions within a month. If that’s where you find yourself right now, we’ve got some advice to help you get back on track.

It’s natural to struggle a bit when trying to implement life changes, but there are a few ways you can get your motivation back if you really want to achieve those New Year’s goals. Here are five things to do right now if you feel yourself slipping.

Reevaluate Your Goals 

A woman pausing from writing in a journal and looking out a window at a cafe.

If you’re struggling with a resolution just a month or two into the new year, you might have set some goals that are too difficult or vague to follow. To find out, make sure your goals meet the “S.M.A.R.T.” criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

For example, some common resolutions are to “get in shape” or “eat healthier.” These are both too vague. Look at the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria to tweak either (or both) of these resolutions.

For example, instead of the vague “get in shape” directive, be more specific, like “lose 50 pounds.” This new goal is also measurable, because, well, you can literally measure it.

Losing 50 pounds is also attainable for most people in a year. However, you’ll have to decide if this is appropriate for you based on your current weight and health conditions.

To ensure that your goal is relevant, think about the reason behind it. Have you been wanting to lose weight for a while, or has your doctor recommended it? Setting a goal on a whim will probably set you up for failure, so it’s important to choose one that you know you’ll be happy achieving.

As for the time-based criterion, you can lose 50 pounds in a year or six months. This is also a good example of how setting short-term goals within your main objective can help a lot.

For example, you could set yourself the goal of losing 10 pounds per month to help you achieve your main goal of losing 50 during the year. This will make your progress easier to track and help you stay motivated as you achieve these smaller goals. You’ll likely find yourself at your goal weight much sooner, too.

It can be helpful to write your goals in a journal and clearly lay out your S.M.A.R.T. criteria. This option from PAPERAGE is lined, so it’s perfect for listing your objectives, as well as your S.M.A.R.T. specifications for each.

PAPERAGE Lined Journal Notebook

Keep track of your S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Acknowledge Your Progress 

A whiteboard and cork board combo hanging on a wall

It can be hard to stay motivated if you feel like you haven’t made any progress on a goal. However, if you’ve been focusing on your resolutions so far this year, you’ve definitely made some progress. Take some time to sit down and be honest about what you’ve accomplished so far this month—and don’t forget to look for progress in unlikely places.

If your goal is to quit smoking, you might not have completely quit just one month into the new year. However, have you reduced the number of cigarettes you smoke each day or week? Have you found healthy ways to distract yourself from the desire to smoke? All of these things should be acknowledged as progress.

It might be helpful to keep track of your progress on a large whiteboard. Hang it where you’ll be able to see it every day, and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.

You can also keep track of your progress with an app, like Streaks. It’s basically a digital to-do list that can help you form and keep new habits.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Seek Out Some Inspiration 

A cork bulletin board with images of travel destinations pinned to it.

Inspiration can help you stay motivated and keep going after your goals. If you want to learn a new skill, for example, seek out some professionals in that field, so you can see where you could be one day.

Masterclass offers online courses taught by professionals in various industries, including music, cooking, sports, and tech. While these also provide valuable information, they’re also inspiring, as you get to learn from people who are at the top of their respective fields. You’ll also learn the techniques they used to get where they are.

Social media sites, like Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok, can also be excellent sources of inspiration. For example, if your goal is to learn to cook, just search “cooking basics” on any of those platforms, and you’ll find endless videos, photos, and blog posts chock-full of info, recipes, and tips.

If you’re a visual person, find some photos that reflect your goals and create a vision board. You can pin them up on a corkboard in your home or office to stay motivated.

Cork Board Bulletin Board

Perfect for your 2022 vision board.

Recruit an Accountability Partner 

Two women high-fiving after a workout at the gym.
Flamingo Images/Shutterstock.com

It’s much easier to abandon a goal if there’s no one around to encourage you to stay on track. While you shouldn’t feel forced to complete any of your goals, an accountability partner can make it a bit tougher to just completely give up.

If a friend or family member has set a similar goal for the new year, suggest that you work on it together. For example, if you’re both working on fitness, see if you can hit the local gym together, or do a weekly workout together on YouTube.

You can also attend a local class to meet people with similar goals, or do a search on Meetup to find locals who have the same objective.

If meeting new people in person isn’t possible at the moment, or really just isn’t your thing, try social media. For example, on Reddit’s Get Motivated Buddies thread, you can find an accountability partner for pretty much any goal.

Reward Yourself 

Two women in workout clothes drinking smoothies in a restaurant.

You don’t have to wait until you’ve accomplished your major goal to reward yourself. Small rewards throughout the year can boost your motivation, especially if you’ve started to feel down about your progress.

For example, if your resolution is to run a marathon, reward yourself with something related to your goal each time you go another mile. For example, you could celebrate by getting yourself a fun water bottle, or a pair of new running shoes. Both will help you keep along the road to your goal.

HYDRO CELL Stainless Steel Water Bottle

The perfect reward for anyone who runs, works out, or is just trying to stay hydrated.

If you’re trying to lose weight, reward yourself with a new outfit each time you lose five or 10 pounds. Learning how to cook? Take a break from the kitchen at your favorite restaurant after you learn how to make something more complicated.

You’ll be surprised at the huge difference these small acknowledgments can make in helping you maintain your motivation and keep going!

Resolutions are fun to make in the first few exciting and hopeful hours of a fresh new year. However, these new goals can quickly become a challenge to keep. If you’ve found that your motivation is starting to wane, these tips can help you get back on track!

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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