4 Things to Do Now to Help Your Resolutions Stick Next Year

published Nov 23, 2015
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(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

The holidays might feel like they’re flying by again this year, as they sometimes do. And before long, we’ll all find ourselves straddling the line between the old year and the new, hoping to approach 2016 with a blank slate and big ambitions of personal betterment. Sow the soil now and do these four things starting today — they’ll help make sticking to your resolutions next year easier than ever.

1. Start one habit — any habit

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Starting and keeping habits takes work. A lot of work, actually. There are competing theories as to just how much and what kind of work it takes, but no one can hope to start a new habit one day and effortlessly stick to it magically every day following it. If you want to add certain habits to your life in the new year, start working on the act of creating habits now.

In other words, pick a super small habit you could start this year that’s different than the bigger, meatier habits you might have planned for next year. Then work on the mechanisms of creating and sticking to a habit. Master something small — not to mention the system you need to get a habit to stick — now, and you’ll not only start 2016 with the skill set to excel at any habits you hope to keep next year, but you’ll also start with the confidence of knowing you can start a habit and stick to it.

The theory behind habits from around the web:

Check out this Fresh Air story for habit forming info: Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them.

Also read up on habits (and the scientific ways you might be able to find success at forming them) with this article on 99U: 5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick.

2. Make your list

Don’t wait until the New Year’s Eve party to make a list of resolutions you want to tackle next year. Start now listing off the ways you’d like to make your life better. From healthy habits, to entertaining more to traveling more, it doesn’t really matter what you put on your list, but it does matter why. Along with jotting down some resolutions, also go into why you want to do those things.

Thinking things through fully will mean having a better understanding — and motivation — for the hard work you’ve got ahead for you in 2016. Lastly, before you sign off on your list for next year, really take a long hard look if it’s pretty lengthy to see what you can take off the list. It’s better to tackle a few resolutions and see them through to completion than leave a bunch of smaller resolutions unfinished.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

3. Start gathering your support squad

Start sharing your resolution plans with trusted friends and family now so you have a support system in place when the new year hits. But also gather around other folks who could be in your support squad, from authors you admire to YouTube exercise stars to more. Sign up for email newsletters that send out helpful tips regularly. Find online forums you can join to share your resolution journey.

4. Clear out potential triggers

Once you’ve come up with your list of resolutions, scan your home and work environments for potential triggers that might really trip you up, and think about how you can start eliminating them from your life and environments now so that you’re ready to start fresh in the new year.