I’m a big believer in not having to wait for January or a new month altogether before we build habits to keep us happier and healthier. In fact, I created an entire video meant to show you that any month is the new January, as well as how you can build the momentum for yourself to set new goals mid-year.
We’re approaching June, the halfway point of the year. And while a lot of us probably have seen our plans change because of recent global events, we don’t have to waste the rest of the year.
In this post, I’ll show you 5 different effective strategies that work, especially when you’re trying to build better habits without waiting for New Year.
THE TRACKING STRATEGY
You know how you can start a new resolution to, say, exercise more or eat less sugar or save more money? And you do great for the first couple of days or weeks, then eventually you just…fall off?
That’s where this first strategy to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions comes in. And that strategy is called tracking (you could also call it monitoring).
Tracking is a super effective way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Because it means checking up on your progress and constantly monitoring how you’re doing, you leave no loopholes and aren’t falling off your habits and goals for, say, weeks at a time.
The best way to make this strategy work to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions is making sure what you’re tracking is measurable in the first place. So it could be your weight, number of miles you ran, money you’ve saved, deadlines you’ve met, projects you’ve finished, and so on.
Here are some of my favorite free apps that got my life together, many of them tracking apps.
THE EDUCATION STRATEGY
When I was younger, about 15 or 16 years old, I completely swore off ice cream and didn’t have a single spoon of that creamy, yummy dessert for two whole years. This was insane to me because I’d always eaten ice cream, probably every other day on some weeks. It was my comfort food, one of my favorite things to have when I needed to end a meal.
So why did I swear off it for so long?
Well, it had to do with something I read online about the negative effects of sugar. We already know too much sugar is bad and all that stuff they tell us in biology or nutrition class, but it was really when I made the conscious effort to learn why sugar was bad for me did I really kick it out of my diet.
You see, educating yourself – even just answering why a particular goal or habit or resolution is important to you – can be a really effective way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
Make the effort to get to know the realities of the world or your own realities. In my two-year sugar-free days, the reality of the world was that sugar could cause diabetes, hormonal imbalances, cancer, and all these bad things I didn’t want to happen to me; and my personal reality was that I wanted to stay happy and healthy – and I didn’t mind giving up ice cream, one of the sugariest foods on the planet.
How to get started on the education strategy: Read scientific journals, do constant reflecting, or ask professionals for information
You might want to read this post: Got too many goals? Here’s how to focus on one at a time.
THE STRATEGY OF REWARDS
I’m a big believer in the power of #treatyoself. This is another great strategy to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
Reward yourself when you stick to your resolutions, and take away something for when you don’t.
You can even set milestones to keep things interesting. Say, one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to start a habit of writing more. Maybe you want to build up a portfolio before you start a freelance side hustle, for example. Or you want to write a book just because.
So you can reward yourself for every 2,000 words you write. That can be treating yourself with a face mask while watching your favorite sitcom, or watching that new blockbuster in the cinemas this weekend.
Just be sure your rewards and treats actually help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.
That means not rewarding yourself in advance (that’s a loophole!) and not rewarding yourself with treats that go against what you’re trying to achieve. (Like ordering a cheeseburger meal with a milkshake to treat yourself after a 30-minute run to help you lose weight – that just doesn’t make sense!)
Tools to help you treat yourself: Milestone trackers
THE STRATEGY OF PAIRING
I love the strategy of pairing, and I use it for all sorts of things. There are a couple of ways you can use this strategy to stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
The first is pairing up things you can do at the same time. I do this with things like doing squats while brushing my teeth (that’s 3 whole minutes of squats!). Or going on a walk or run while listening to entrepreneurship podcasts.
The other way you can use pairing is doing something immediately before or after another habit. For example, I used to use my time after dinner to develop my writing habit. Once I finished dinner, I would immediately go to my laptop and start writing for about 15 to 30 minutes. I also use this to keep up my goal of journaling every day – I would take some supplements at night, so I made it a point to journal right after swallowing those pills.
This strategy actually works great when you pair habits at the same time. Want to get more exercise in your day? Try doing squats while brushing your teeth! Need to walk more? Play a movie on the treadmill or listen to a podcast while on a jog.
THE STRATEGY OF SCHEDULING
Ask any die-hard productivity superstar, and they probably have a schedule.
Here’s a great reminder to keep in mind:
If it’s not on your calendar, then it doesn’t exist.
This can be anything – from appointments to new routines you want to set. If you really want to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, then you need to make a schedule.
No one knows the comings and goings of your life better than you do, so you’re really the best person who can come up with the best schedule.
Try time-blocking or task batching to help you in the strategy of scheduling. Time blocking is when you designate a task to a specific time, while task batching is designating completing a certain task on a specific day.
Want to read more about scheduling? I have this neat strategy for you: How to Structure Productive Days with Google Calendar
STICK TO YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS EASY-BREEZY
Did you enjoy my list of these 5 simple strategies? Which ones have you already tried? If you’d add anything to this list, feel free to leave a comment and let me know. A happier, healthier life is within reach – and it all lies on those good habits.