Believe it or not, 80 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions give up by mid-February. No matter how many psychological hacks we put in place, the force of habit is too much for most of us to handle. There are, however, a few tried-and-true strategies many successful people use that you could benefit from in your resolution goals.
Of course, none of the tips listed below will do you any good if you don't have strong willpower, patience, and dedication. For those who have the necessary drive, however, these strategies will increase the likelihood of reaching your goals. In addition to general tips, we'll also share a few strategies for specific resolutions that are common in 2019.
Three Expert Tips To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
1. Get Real: Simplify Your Goals
When formulating your resolutions, keep these famous words of advice from Henry David Thoreau on your mind: "Simplify, simplify."
People often struggle to keep New Year's resolutions because their expectations are too darn high. It's far better to focus on one major life change than to spread your energy thin with multiple resolutions.
You'll have a better chance of making progress by focusing on one task. Noticing the tiny victories along the way will give you the self-pride necessary to further fuel your resolution success. On the other hand, if you feel overwhelmed by all the resolutions you can't keep, then you'll likely beat yourself up and give up too quickly.
Another important part of being realistic is celebrating small successes along the way. Unfortunately, we humans have a nasty tendency to dwell on all the things that are wrong in our lives. When you're too self-critical, you can easily get depressed and ditch your goals.
While you need a bit of self-criticism to push yourself forward, you must balance this critical tendency with self-congratulation. A great way to cultivate self-pride is to keep a journal in which you write down your recent accomplishments no matter how small they may seem.
2. Hey, Put Your Phone Down: The Dangers Of Multi-Tasking
There's no such thing as a multi-tasking master. Study after study clearly shows our brains can only successfully focus on one task at a time. The brain only gives us the illusion of taking in two things at once; in reality, our brains are rapidly and continuously switching attention between competing stimuli when multi-tasking.
You may feel like you're getting more accomplished by multi-tasking, but that's simply not the case. You will make more progress if you commit to reducing the deceptive habit of multi-tasking in the New Year.
3. Still The Mind
No matter what your goal is, you need a strong mindset. The best way to program your mind for success is to get in the habit of meditation. Why do you think so many successful CEOs, authors, and business tycoons have recently gotten into this ancient discipline? Answer: it works!
The benefits of meditation are wide-ranging and well documented. Not only does frequent meditation reduce stress, it can also strengthen your memory, concentration, and pain tolerance. Adding just 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation to your daily routine will greatly increase the odds of accomplishing your resolutions.
Hacks For Common 2019 Resolutions
1. Wean Off Of Social Media: Reducing Screen Time
More and more people are realizing the dangers of Internet addiction. Believe it or not, a recent study out of Shanghai's Jiao Tong University found that teens who suffered from Internet addiction had brains with significant reductions in areas related to emotional stability and self-control. Since computers and smartphones have become so commonplace in contemporary life, it should come as no surprise that many people are trying to reduce their screen time in 2019.
Although you might not like to hear it, the best way to reduce your screen time is to get rid of your social media accounts. Look at it this way: there's an undeniable correlation between the amount of time you spend on social media and your risk of depression/anxiety. By deleting Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from your life, you'll also delete that nasty habit of comparing your life unfavorably to other people's posts. Instead of connecting through a social media platform, try connecting with people face-to-face in the New Year.
By the way, you should try your best to reduce screen time before you go to bed. Our brains can't really tell the difference between the blue light emitted from electronic screens and natural sunlight. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the rise in electronic screen usage is directly correlated to the rise in sleep disorders like insomnia. Make a commitment to turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed. This will have a tremendous impact on your sleep health, which means more energy during the daytime.
2. Resources For Learning A New Language
One way you could use technology to your advantage is to learn a new language in the New Year. There are many free resources you could access online to practice listening, reading, and speaking any language imaginable…even Klingon and High Valyrian!
Probably the easiest way to get started learning a new language is to download the popular app DuoLingo. This free app is very addicting (in a good way) because it makes you play language-learning games to earn experience points. After getting started on DuoLingo, look into more advanced language-learning resources on YouTube or on the Foreign Service Institute's (FSI) website.
Please remember what we talked about earlier about keeping your goals realistic. Only choose one new language to start off with and commit to it until you feel you've gained mastery over it. If this is your first time learning a foreign language, then it might be best for you to pick a language that's close to English like Spanish, French, or Dutch to make it easy on yourself.
3. De-clutter Your Home: De-Clutter Your Mind
If your home isn't well organized, then chances are you're dealing with a lot of psychological stress. Too much clutter in your home creates a whole lot of visual distraction for you brain to process. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to reduce mental stress is to clean your house in the New Year.
Probably the easiest ways to get started in your own "Feng Shui" project is to invest in a hanging DOPP kit. By fitting all of your toiletries in one bag, you'll always know where your lotions, creams, and razors are when you're in the bathroom. Sturdy DOPP bags like the ones made by Vetelli have the added benefit of keeping all of your grooming gear organized while you're on the go. You'll be amazed how much calmer you'll feel just knowing all your toiletries are super-organized in a DOPP kit.
Wishing You Success With Your 2019 Goals
Again, when it comes to keeping New Year's resolutions, you must have mental discipline and patience with yourself. Nothing can get in the way of a man with a burning desire to improve himself. Having said that, we hope these tips will help reduce the psychological impact of inevitable setbacks along the way. By using the skills and tips listed in this article, you will become a better version of yourself by the end of this year.