Three Ways To Have an Awesome Year Even If You’ve Broken Your New Year’s Resolutions

By Amina H.

March 18, 2016   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Three months have already passed and it seems those New Year’s Resolutions that people have scribbled on the napkins from their ultra-heavy-holiday-dinners have already been used for something – and thrown out. So what can you do today to get back on track, go after your goals and live a productive life without rewriting or re-resolving to stick to your resolutions?


1) Select a theme for the rest of the year.

It could consist of one word or one phrase. Treat the year like a chapter from a book and summarize the ideal you in an overarching theme. If you want to start eating right and exercising more, your theme could be “Healthy lifestyle”. If you want to get out of your comfort zone, expand your experiences and engage more with life, you could select, “Just do it.” Selecting a theme helps you focus on improving your habits in a single area, instead of dividing your limited willpower. Whatever you choose as a theme, make sure it’s written and easily accessible. You can place it in your wallet or write it on a post-it and put it in front of you. Alternatively, make the theme catchy enough for easier recollection. It can also be a quote you remind yourself whenever you’re tempted to stray away from your path towards your goal.

2) Build an integrated system based on habits and habit linking.

Instead of listing goals like “lose fifteen pounds and run a marathon,” you could take stock of your life right now and work on changing your habits very slowly. The easiest way to do that is to start with good mini-habits and link them into old well-established habits to build an integrated system. For instance, add a serving of vegetables to every meal, or drink water as soon as you wake up. Having meals and waking up are daily habits you’ve got to go through. Building small habits like this will immensely increase your motivation, because you don’t have to wait for the audacious goal of losing fifteen pounds to feel good about yourself. You can feel awesome just by finishing one exercise session. This is the concept of building success spirals that Nick Winter writes about in Motivation Hacker. It comes from the idea that success begets success and that the first step to building a success spiral is to make a tiny, achievable goal that you can’t forget to do. This helps you set realistic goals based on your characteristics and your schedule, instead of picking something out of a list.

3) Reinforce your values

Everybody has personal values and principles to live life by. Let’s say you’re a writer and you used to keep “write 500 words every day” in your annual resolutions list and yet end up missing 200 words every day. Make life easier for yourself; so maybe the reason you love writing is because you value creativity? Reinforce that value in ways that include – but are not limited to – writing:
– Work on another creative project like painting
– Read on the topic of creativity
– Go to a museum and recognize creativity in other people’s works
– Simply read a book
This diversification will provide you with more opportunities to reinforce your value without making you feel bad about not writing. It also helps keep the boredom at bay. So, whether you decide to select a theme for the rest of the year, build an integrated system based on habits and habit linking or reinforcing your values using different activities, remember that writing down a New Year’s Resolutions is not the only way to change and improve your life starting today. Also, you can always join (1) and (3) so your value appears as your theme of the year.

Amina H.

Author writes on productivity, personal development, and creativity.

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