With 2017 almost ending, it’s time to create another list of resolutions for the new year. Some might skip, saying it’s a struggle to keep their resolutions — but it doesn’t have to be so difficult!

“It’s only hard because people don’t put in enough effort to allow them to succeed,” said Art Markman of Time.com. Here are five tips for a highly effective New Year’s resolution.

#1 Know Your Reason
It’s easy to come up and jot down your resolutions for the new year, but you have to know why you’re making it a resolution in the first place. According to Margie Warrell, a contributor on Forbes.com, your resolutions have to go beyond superficial desires and connect with what truly matters most to you. Understanding the reason behind your resolution will give you a deeper sense of purpose and compel you to stay on track despite any hindrance.

#2 Be Specific
Resolutions like have a healthier lifestyle, lose weight, save money are most likely to fail because they lack specificity. After you find out the reason for your resolution, you have to clearly define the direction you’re going to take to get to your goal. You’ll be able to track your progress better with a clear, specified resolution. For instance, if you want to be healthier and lose the holiday weight you put on, schedule workouts that’ll fit into every week and specify how much weight you’d like to shed.

#3 Be Realistic
There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal at a challenging level; after all, the sky’s the limit, right? But if your resolution for the new year is something along the lines of becoming a millionaire, you might be setting yourself up for failure especially if you don’t have the resources required to reach the goal. According to realmenrealstyle.com, an unrealistic resolution is not a goal but a wish. So come up with attainable goals and ground them in reality instead.

#4 Focus On Your Process
There’s truth in the axiom: “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” The thing is, most people only concentrate on the result of something, which in turn makes them shortsighted and more likely to give up when their efforts don’t produce immediate results. Keep in mind what Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits, said: “You’re more likely to reach your goals if you focus on the steps you need to take to get there, rather than the end result itself.”

#5 Give Yourself Time
It takes 21 days for a habit to form, and another six months for it to integrate itself into your daily routine. If you’re struggling with keeping up with your resolution and managed to stray off-track, forgive yourself and get back up! Remember that you still have a whole year to do it. “Slipping is part of the process,” Richard O’Connor, author of Happy At Last: The Thinking Person’s Guide To Finding Joy, reminded his readers.

The bottomline is: change is difficult, but don’t forget that each and every one of us has the innate ability to make changes in our lives, no matter our habits and routines. So your resolutions? Keep at it and don’t let anything set you back.

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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