Let's face it: It's tough to stick to New Year's resolutions. In this John Oliver video, the comedian hilariously tells us all what to do once we've failed at keeping our New Year's resolutions (instead of exercising, just wake up late for work in order to get your heart rate up). But in real life, breaking your resolution isn't the set up for a joke, it's a chance to re-examine your habits and make a fresh promise that's a bit easier to stick to.
Step one is to re-frame your perspective. It's not a failure if you made it to the gym a grand total of zero times this week. You actually succeeded at figuring out one thing: Your resolution doesn't work.
So here's what you can do now (step two): Make a revised resolution. Take your big, audacious goal and do two things with it:
- Make it (much) smaller or more specific.
- Give it a home in your routine.
If your original resolution was to get top the gym more, your revised resolution might look like this: "Do 10 jumping jacks by the side of the bed when you wake up." Somebody who's resolved to read more, but hasn't picked up a book all year might change their promise to "Read a page before cooking dinner."
The new goals are more specific, and therefore a bit easier to tackle day-to-day. By tying the tasks to something that's already established in your daily routine–when you wake up, brush your teeth, get in the car, cook dinner or just before bed–you're giving yourself a big chance to succeed at making your resolution stick. It's tough to adopt a new habit, but it's easier to improve an old one.