Even though the new year has just begun, many people have already set their goals for the year.
To help you achieve your resolutions, The Muse teamed up with science to bring you the five best strategies for making your New Year’s resolutions stick.
How to Set Reasonable Goals
Psychologists have conducted thousands of research studies on goal-setting and found that setting the right kind of goals can increase commitment and motivation—but only when those goals are properly constructed.
Here are the key components that make a goal work:
1) Make them specific: Be as specific as possible so that you can measure your progress. Instead of saying you want to get in shape, say you want to run a marathon by June. Instead of saying you want to be more organized, say you want to complete all of your work tasks on time every day this week. If you’re not sure how to get started on a goal, break it down into smaller parts and start there.
2) Make them challenging but attainable: You don’t have to have everything figured out from the get-go—in fact, it can be motivating to realize over time that an initial goal isn’t feasible or realistic for you. But if something seems excessively difficult or out of reach, then you might lose your motivation.
3) Tell lots of people about your goal. It’s been proven again and again that people who publicly commit to achieving their goals by sharing them with others are more likely to succeed than those who keep their resolutions private.
4) Treat your resolutions like habits. One of the most effective ways to get yourself to do something is to make it part of your routine. That might mean setting aside time each day to exercise, or going grocery shopping immediately after work so you can’t talk yourself out of it. In other words, don’t try to force yourself to do something when you just don’t feel like it: instead, find a way to make it automatic.