To keep your New Year's resolutions, you just need to start small! Setting small goals increases your chance of success by quite a bit. Sounds easy, right? Well, of course it isn't – that's why we wait until the new year to resolve to do something so big. One way to make it easier is to get a jump start, and actually start before the new year. If you missed this opportunity, though, it's not a big deal!
Many others are starting their resolutions on January 1st, so creating (or joining) a support group centered around mutual goals increases the chance of success for all of you.
In reality, we could keep ANY New Year's resolution that we set forth to keep. While that's a great theory, it rarely happens – so let's get real with some ideas on how to keep two of the most popular resolutions.
How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
Stop being overweight. This is a big one! Almost everyone resolves to lose weight, whether it's at the beginning of the year or any other time. Instead of trying a fad diet, start with baby steps. Don't sign up for a gym – you probably won't go, and it's going to be full of New Year's Resolutioners anyway.
Start small by walking a mile a day. Too cold to walk outside? Try Walk Away the Pounds. After you've walked a mile a day for a few days, take a rest day – then increase to 2 or 3 miles. Don't worry too much about your eating habits at this point. While it's important to eat healthy foods, it's unrealistic for most of us to eat less calories while worrying about exercising.
On the day you start exercising, you should also increase your water intake. Drink up!
After you've been walking a few miles a day for a few weeks, look at your diet. What are you eating – or not eating? Are you drinking soda every day? If you can't give it up completely, just cut back – once or twice a week instead of once a twice a day will help you see results fairly quickly.
Don't obsess over the scale. I wouldn't even weigh myself, really. You'll notice changes when your clothes start to get loose. Once you get the hang of walking a few miles a day, add in other things – like squats while you're doing laundry or vacuuming. Work at it, keep a positive outlook, and your results will follow.
Stop being broke. Man, this one is difficult. Everyone has a different financial situation, so it's tough to give advice that will work for everyone. However, I'm going to give you some tips to get you started – and once you get started, it is much easier.
First, find a checking account that lets you round your change up to the next dollar, and automatically deposits it into your savings account. If you use cash, save your change in a milk jug (so it's harder to take out every time you “need” a Starbuck's drink).
Second, figure out where you can cut expenses. We've all heard this one before, right? Now it's time to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. With amazing programs like Netflix and Hulu, there's really no reason to have cable when you're trying to save money. Look into budget billing for utilities if it's available. Budget billing helps even your bills out each month so there are no surprises in the really hot – or really cold – months. If you're hooked on fountain sodas from the gas station, cut those down to once a week instead of once a day. Pinch pennies now and you won't have to later.
Next, start looking into income-making opportunities. Can you sell the extra TV that's in your basement and make $30? Do it! Are you crafty? Make things to sell – either locally, or on a site like Etsy. Are you computer-savvy? Become a virtual assistant. Get creative.
And last but not least, stop stressing about it so much! I know it's tough – we've all been there – but if you make an effort to increase your savings, it WILL happen. You just have to get creative!
If you slip up, don't beat yourself up – just get back on track! There's no reason to wait another week, another month, or another year to start over. You made a mistake – we all do – so get over it and get back to striving to reach your goals.
More New Year’s Resolution Ideas