Last month in this column, we shared how to effectively craft New Year’s resolutions that will stick for the duration of 2018. Proper goal-setting is a key to achieving what you want. But then the question becomes: How do you keep at those self-promises for the entire year?
Related: How to Set Solid Resolutions
We solicited reader input, three of which are highlighted in the case studies to the right. We also received a number of other strategies that are excellent ways to keep those New Year’s resolutions.
New York City-based search engine optimization consultant Edward Strum advises focusing intensely on a single resolution. “Make it a cornerstone habit that a bunch of good habits and practices can develop from,” he says.
Melody Godfred, founder of the Los Angeles-based Fred + Far self-love movement, advises focusing on the “old you, for the new year.” That means finding ways to remember your true self during your best time—before depression, unhealthy habits, financial struggle or other situations set in.
Seek joy first.
A few years ago, Christina Moreland, Houston author of Secrets of the Super Mom: How to Be a Super Mom Without Losing Your Super Self! started the new year by asking herself, What brings you joy? She then created a New Year’s strategy to amplify the things that brought her joy. For example, feeling healthy and strong is joyful for Moreland, so she committed to working out three times per week.
Get motivated with incentives.
Paul Koger, a proprietary trader in New York City, uses money to motivate him to stay on track. He pays a friend $50 for every week that he fails to jog three times, and he documents his runs on their shared Sports Tracker app.
Stick to your core values.
Melissa Slawsky, CEO of Brainiac Bundles, says that staying on track requires that the resolutions be aligned with her core values—such as creativity, innovation and freedom—and do not even hint at what she calls “ego candy,” like outward appearances or flashy possessions.
Staying on track requires that the resolutions be aligned with your core values.
28; U.S. director of development and outreach at BIGStop.org; Atlanta
I don’t do goals; I do themes. A couple of years ago, I noticed the hardest part about keeping New Year’s resolutions was that my goals were so different at the beginning of the year compared to where I was in the middle. To fix this, I started naming each year “The Year of ____.” I fill the blank with a theme that will help me navigate the way I approach my goals as opposed to which goal I approach. Last year was The Year of the Upgrade, which included a new TV, upgrading my wardrobe, and I even got a new job and a puppy. This year is The Year of the Build, so I’m building a scalable foundation for every area of my life.
27; social media and community manager of YogaFit.com; Fort Benning, Georgia
After writing down my goals, I add very specific steps to make the resolution a reality. Last year my goals were to get more active and meet new people. The written outline included the steps: Participate in one race a month, and join groups and clubs for runners, bikers and stand-up paddleboard enthusiasts. By the end of the year, I had participated in a dozen running, paddleboarding, canoeing, swimming and other races. I was in the best shape of my life and now count so many lifelong friends to thank for joining me on this fun journey.
75; co-editor at MobileMovieMaking magazine; San Francisco Bay Area
The best way to make sure I follow through on any resolution is to tell my friends about it. Right now, for example, I’ve let everyone I care about know that I’m finishing a how-to book on making mobile movies. I always include a deadline. Not surprising, when I’m chatting with friends, they’ll ask, “How’s the book project going?” Their interest motivates me to push ahead. I don’t want the humiliation of having to explain why the book didn’t get done on time. I’ve used this strategy for many projects over the years. Although it’s not 100 percent effective, it really helps.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Emma Johnson is a business journalist, gender-equality activist, and founder of the world's largest community of single moms, WealthySingleMommy.com. Emma and her best-selling book, The Kickass Single Mom, and her organization, Moms for Shared Parenting, have been featured in hundreds of national and international media outlets.