You stared down — and nailed — your holiday shopping list. Now what about that list of New Year’s resolutions? True, some people love the tradition. But for most of us, whether we pledge to exercise more, eat better, save money, or live a more sustainable lifestyle, our goals usually fizzle out by February or March. So, what’s the point, right? But wait — just because life-changing pronouncements may not stick doesn’t mean small strides won’t still lead to positive change. Whether it’s for the sake of your health or the wellbeing of the planet — and the two are connected, after all — consider these simple, effective strategies to help you overcome the post-holiday slump, stay committed, and make your New Year’s resolutions last.
Are you still deciding what your resolutions should be for 2024? From shopping secondhand to beginning a composting journey, we have some suggestions for eco-friendly goals sure to benefit both you and the planet in the year ahead.
Be practical with your goals
Dream big, but keep it real. If you want to keep your New Year’s resolutions, aim for achievable ones that align with your values. For example, if your goal is to start exercising more, begin with a manageable routine instead of an intense workout regimen. This approach allows for consistent progress without becoming overwhelming. You can also add to your goals as time goes by. Start by going to the gym once a week, then slowly progress to two or three times a week.
Are you determined to greenify your home in 2024, but don’t know where to start? Solar panels? New landscaping? Why not begin inside by simply detoxing your home from chemical cleaners? Whether it’s finding natural alternatives to surface cleaners to switching to eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets, it’s a great way to start the process of embracing and enjoying a more sustainable, eco-conscious lifestyle.
Don’t be vague
It’s so easy to drop resolutions that aren’t specific. Set clear and measurable goals. Instead of a vague resolution like “I want to be healthier” define it as “I will walk for 30 minutes every day.” The former can mean a lot of things since health is personal for everyone. For some, it may be cutting processed food out of their diets. For others, spending more time at the gym or cutting sugar out of their morning coffee.
If you want to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, you may decide to use less single-use plastic. But be specific. Does that mean not using plastic shopping bags in 2024 or always bringing a reusable cup for your takeaway coffee orders? Sitting down and writing down clear goals will help you track progress, maintain focus, and actually achieve your New Year’s resolutions.
Break down your resolutions and goals
Divide your resolutions into smaller, manageable steps. For instance, if your resolution is to read 20 books in 2024, set a target of finishing a certain number of books a month or reading a certain amount each day to help you manage your goal. Tracking your goal will make it easier to accomplish — that way when December 2024 rolls around, you won’t need to read 15 books in a month to keep your New Year’s resolutions.
Establish a routine
If you want to increase your chances of keeping your resolutions, incorporate it into your daily routine. Keep a journal or planner to schedule time for your goals. Whether it’s practicing mindfulness, learning a new language, or going for daily walks, scheduling specific times for these activities will help them go from being chores to hobbies.
Accountability is key to keeping your goals in check. Let others know about your plans and consider partnering with someone who shares similar resolutions. Accountability and mutual support can help keep you motivated and committed. You might also consider using apps or journals to help you stay on top of those goals. And you can always join social media groups if you don’t have friends or family who share your New Year’s resolutions.
Embrace any setbacks
Nobody’s perfect. So, don’t expect everything to go smoothly. Setbacks are natural. Don’t be discouraged by any of these occasional slip-ups. Instead, use them as a learning opportunity to adjust your strategy to get you back on track.
Be kind to yourself
Practice self-compassion. Don’t dwell on setbacks. A little kindness and understanding for yourself will help maintain motivation and prevent self-criticism from derailing your progress. If you forgot your reusable coffee cup and used a single-use one instead, don’t be hard on yourself. Just try to find a way to get back to your goal by keeping the cup in your car or backpack to prevent you from forgetting it.
Celebrate your achievements
Give yourself a pat on the back when you reach a milestone toward accomplishing your New Year’s resolution. No matter how small, be proud of every achievement you make toward your goal. Thinking positively will reinforce your motivation to continue. On the other hand, being self-critical only makes it more difficult to stay on track.
Reflect and renew
Check in on your progress every now and again. So, regularly review your goals and adjust as needed. Reflecting on your journey allows you to celebrate successes, learn from setbacks, and renew your commitment to your goals.
Making a New Year’s resolution is more than just a tradition — it’s an opportunity for growth and positive change in your life. And hopefully these tips will help you turn your goals into lasting habits in 2024 and beyond. Cheers to a more fulfilling year ahead!