13 Tricks for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions, from People Who Actually Did

By | December 25, 2019

Figure out the “why”

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In the world of titles, Seth Lejeune is the proud owner of quite a few: entrepreneur, small business owner, and father. But a new one he wanted to add? Reader. Thanks to a commitment to a lifetime of learning, he wanted to get serious about his own self-education, so he vowed to read 50 books in a year, or in other words, about one book a week. To make this ambitious goal, given all of the other responsibilities in his life, he got started right away and gave much of his mental space to his resolution during the first 30 days, thanks to notes. He would write ‘TV is junk’ or ‘Leaders are readers’ in notebooks or in an e-mail, reminding himself to tune out of his electronics and into the pages of authors he admired.

The first month paved the path for the rest of the year, where he ultimately finished 61 books. His advice to anyone who is aiming for a very specific task is to focus on the reasons that define your ‘why.’

“People know what they need to do, but they spent far too much thought on ‘what’ they need to do in order to accomplish their goal, instead of the ‘why,’” he says. “The mind has an amazing way to take you where you want to go if it knows why it’s doing it. This takes some solitude and quiet time, but really think about the importance of the resolution and what you’ll feel like once it is accomplished. We are what we think about most. If we think to ourselves we are ‘not motivated’ or ‘lazy’ or we concentrate on past failures, our brain will find a way to make that our reality and we will have failed at yet another New Year’s resolution.”

Limit your options to fail

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Though entrepreneur Benjamin Ritter already knew how to play a musical instrument, he wanted to add another to his proficiencies, so he set his sights on the guitar. He wasn’t as jazzed about this particular resolution as he was for past ones, so he knew it would be important to make the goal tangible, by practicing for 15 minutes a day—no more, no less. And to pinpoint his attention, he also purchased a guitar and positioned it in a place where he’d catch a glimpse of it daily.

These two facts were essential to his success, and his best advice to others. “The more connected you feel the resolution the more likely you’ll continue it,” he says. “You want to make it so your resolution is the least amount of work possible. If it has to do with eating healthy only keep healthy food in the house, or if it’s going to the gym pick one that you can walk to or fall asleep in your workout clothes, so you’re ready to go in the morning when you wake up.” Check out these financial resolutions that can help you save money in 2020.

You will slip up—but it’s no big deal

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Jolie Manza, the owner of YogaKoh, felt impassioned about the amount of waste that’s filtered around the world and decided to make a difference. By removing all use of plastic in her life, she might not make a huge environmental footprint, but one that helps her feel impactful. To make this difficult cleansing possible, she made the background of her phone an ocean image from Bali, reminding her of why she cares for the planet. It also helped that she picked a cause specific to her interests. “Something has to mean enough to you that you are willing to go through the steps to make a change,” she says.

And of course, being forgiving was also a contributor to her ability to omit this waste. “Too often people that make a little slip up on their resolution get upset with themselves and then just forget the whole concept. Just assume that you will fall off track and few times and don’t get so down on yourself. The biggest part is recognizing that you slipped and then getting back on track,” she says.

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