January has passed, how are your New Year’s resolutions going?

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

We all feel motivated at the beginning. That’s why January is probably your most productive and promising month. People make various New Year’s resolutions like fitness, reading, learning languages, etc. Unfortunately, those resolutions usually end up in failure because it’s hard to keep motivated through an entire year. Ask yourself, how many New Year’s resolutions have you already given up in January?

In this short article, I’m going to show you 4 practical tips to help you keep your resolutions even when the honeymoon phase is over.

Break Down Your Goals

“I want to write a book this year” sounds daunting, how about “I am gonna write 500 words each morning”?

People are more likely to give up when facing great goals because it seems impossible to accomplish them. We tend to procrastinate since we are afraid to get started or even don’t know how to start.

Breaking down the goal into small tasks solves this problem. It’s important that each task need to be realistic and specific. Instead of making a one-year plan, you can set short-term deadlines for each task and try to accomplish them one by one. The main benefit is that every task looks doable so we won’t be intimidated, and we are less likely to have excuses for procrastination when dealing with simple task.

Build Your Reward System

We are all human, working hard all the time might make us fatigued. Sometimes it’s healthy and smart to give yourself rewards in order to keep you motivated. For example, you can set up a reward system that you are allow to check social media for ten minutes after an hour of reading.

But keep in mind that the reward must not conflict with your goals. If your goal is to lose weight, you shouldn’t take eating fast food as a reward. And of course, the reward should not take too much time.

Try The Two-Day Rule

It’s easy to be excited about what you are gonna achieve in January, but it’s difficult to keep that momentum during the whole year. That’s when the two-day rule becomes useful.

The two-day rule is a rule I learned from Matt D’Avella’s video which can help you construct a consistent habit . The two-day rule simply states that when executing a plan, two consecutive days of failure are not allowed under any circumstances.

Occasionally you might need to take a day off, whether it’s because of your schedule, bad weather, or you just want to be lazy. But if you take two days off in a row, it can easily become three days, four days, and eventually become forever. The two-day rule prevents you from falling into comfort zone and forgetting your goal.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress allows you to visualize your accomplishment, increasing your motivation to reach the goals. There are lots of habit tracking apps out there. I personally use ticktick to keep track of my habits and use Notion or Trello to organize my goals. If you prefer more interesting apps, I recommend using Hapitica, a RPG-like productivity app, to gamify your progress.

Note that you should also honestly keep track of any failures you make so that you can learn from them and adjust your plans or habits accordingly.

In fact, New Year isn’t the only time for you to change. As James Clear said in his best-selling book Atomic Habits, a consistent 1% improvement will compound into a great achievement in the future. The key to success is to start now. I hope you can accomplish your resolutions this time.

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