It's easy to say "a new year, a new me" every January 1st. We all have things we can or want to improve on from fitness and weight loss to budgeting and improving relationships.
Not surprisingly, we often forget or give up on these New Year's resolutions within the first few weeks, if not sooner.
So how can we stick to our 2015 resolutions?
It's easy to say you want to save so much money or lose so much weight. While having specific goals are great, maybe be realistic by not putting numbers to it. Instead of saying 'I want to save $10,000 to travel,' say you want to put 25 percent of each paycheck into a savings account. That way it's not putting too big of a hurting on your needs.
The saying 'go big or go home' is great for some people, but in reality we are setting ourselves up for failure. Start small and progressively be more aggressive with your goal.
If you're planning on losing weight, it can really hurt you to go really big in the opening week. If you're not used to not eating a lot of grains and you completely cut them out of your diet the first week, your cravings are going to be worse.
Or if you plan on training for a marathon, you can't expect to go from out of shape to running 10 miles quickly. If you overwhelm yourself the first week, you're not going to want to keep going the second week. Baby steps, people.
Tell People About It
It will keep you accountable. If you tell everyone you're going to quit smoking, people will call you out if they see you with a cigarette or lighter. The more people that know about it, the more people there are to police you -- which can be a blessing if you really want to change or a curse if you're making a resolution just because.
Track Your Progress
Yes, we all hate that person that shows progression every day and week on Facebook. But if you have real friends and good family on your social media, don't be afraid to post some updates -- you may even motivate others to follow in your footsteps.
Try to keep the updates no more than monthly, whether you did well or not. Talk about the struggles or your proud moments. If you hit a bump in the road, that's OK because you will overcome it as long as you're dedicated to self improvement.
Ask For Support
With all your friends and family aware of your resolution, it's great to have someone to lean on. Even better, find someone that wants to reach a similar goal as you. Find someone else that wants to travel the world and look to each other for support. They'll understand that it's hard when life throws you curve balls and it's someone to vent to.
Besides friends, there are tons of apps out there to help you out with tips on how to achieve specific goals while also tracking them. There's no shame in seeking help, whether from your parents or professionally. Do what you need to do to get your life where you want it.
Nothing comes easy. Totally cliche, but totally true. You have to be patient. You can't expect things to just happen. You have to remain dedicated to the cause. If you don't put in the work, you're not going to see the results.
On another note, sometimes life isn't fair. You can work hard and not see results or life can throw curve balls at you, but you have to be patient enough to know that you just got to keep going.
So what, you gained one pound this week. You'll probably lose five next week. So you ditched your friends this week because you were too busy, go out with them twice the next week. Your tire blew out and you had to spend three weeks worth of the money you've been saving, so up your savings percentage.
You can't give up when life gets hard, just like you can't give up when you have a misstep in your resolution.
This one is probably the hardest for some people to do, while for others it's the easiest. If you REALLY want to achieve your goals, you're going to need to put yourself first -- above your significant other, above your social life, above other people's needs. Now that's not to say you should put it as top priority, but it should definitely be up there.
If you're cutting back on drinking, it's OK to skip out on a night with your friends. Suggest a coffee date or movie night to make up for it. If you're saving money, suggest a Netflix night instead of heading to the theaters. If the smell of smoke makes you want to light your cigarette, skip out on the club concert if you feel it's necessary.
If you really want to achieve it, you have to sacrifice. Others will understand as long as you make it clear why you are or aren't doing something; make it clear that you're just trying to better yourself.
If people are bitter about it, maybe you should change your New Year's resolution to finding more supportive and understanding friends.