The New Year is a time for us to gather all of our bad habits of the 365 days before and leave them at the door. We think of all the wonderful things we can do with this fresh new start, but why is it so hard to keep up with our ambitions? This leads many to believe that New Year's resolutions are pointless, but they can be done. I am going to tell you five ways to stick to your New Year's resolution.
1. Be real.
If you want to have a good resolution, make it a real one. We often lose our motivation because our goal is too far out of reach and this leads to us giving up on it. "I want to lose ten pounds a month in 2019," is not very realistic. "I want to completely cut sugar out of my diet," is also unrealistic. Once we realize how unreal our resolutions are, we often give up on them, but the better alternative is to alter them. Try making your goals more attainable and practical. Instead of planning to lose ten pounds every month, plan to work towards a goal weight by the end of the year. Doing this will help you have your goal in mind and give you room to work with it.
2. Make a plan.
No goal is complete without a plan. You need to know how you are going to reach your goal if you truly plan on getting there. If your goal is to pray five times a day in 2019, how do you plan on achieving this? If you want to eat healthily, how do you plan on accomplishing this? You need to ask yourself this question and record your answers. Doing this will make the mountain leading to your goal look much less intimidating and make your goal more attainable.
3. There are levels to this.
There is no shame in breaking up your New Year's resolution into multiple parts. In fact, doing this will make you more successful in the end. You can do what I like to call the "seasonal breakdown." If you want to lose a hundred pounds by the end of the year, try to lose twenty-five pounds in the winter, another twenty-five in the spring, another in the summer, and another in the fall. By the end of the year, you will have lost a whopping one hundred pounds. Doing this method will help you achieve small victories that will motivate you to work harder for the next one until you have reached the final goal.
4. Tell everyone.
If your friends and family know what your goals and plans are, they will more than likely want to help you achieve them. Sometimes we get lazy or give in to our desires, our family and friends will not allow that. It is much harder not to stick to something when everyone is watching. If your goal is to read more, they will not hesitate to remind you as you're watching TV. If you wanted to pray more, they would be sure to let you know when prayers come in. Having your family and friends do this might be annoying at first, but at the end, you'll thank them for helping you power through.
5. No one said it would be easy.
Sometimes we do not see progress happening as quickly as we would like; this can be very frustrating, but it's not worth giving up on something we want. Maybe we are not losing weight quickly enough, or feel very tired because of waking up for fajr, or maybe our body is aching from the gym. It's okay to feel frustrated, to try and fail, and to make mistakes as long as we learn and try again. Remember that it's not a competition or a test to see how long you can last without breaking. If you mess up your diet, it's perfectly acceptable to continue it the next day as if nothing happened. If you missed fajr, just make it up and plan to wake up the following morning. If you skipped the gym, know that you'll make up for it the next day. With every goal, there comes a struggle, and you've got to be willing to embrace that struggle.
I have been using these five tips to keep up with my New Year’s resolution and they have never failed me. If there were one more thing, I would like to add it would be not to wait. Don't wait till January 1, 20XX to better your life. The New Year may seem like the perfect time to restart, but there is no time like the present. Get a head start on all your friends waiting for a New Year, and start working towards a better you always.