We have just stepped into a new year and there are so many of us who come up with yearly resolutions to be the better version of ourselves. Be it a friend or a family member, there usually is at least one person that definitely asks you about what your resolutions are for the year ahead.

Whether you like to make them or not, research has found that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make resolutions at all. But, we also understand that it’s not so easy to keep your determination intact as life returns to normal just after this holiday mode ends and your old habits of mind and action start testing your resolution, pulling you away from the new ones you resolved to create.

But, there’s a science to success when it comes to achieving goals and making life changes – whether on January 1st or any other time of year. We have accumulated some ways and strategies to help you make the changes you want in the year ahead – together with making the right resolutions to begin with. I hope you will read it, but more so, I hope you will apply them and inculcate them to your daily life so that the upcoming year truly becomes the best year of your life.

1. Know Your Why.

For any resolution to stick, it has to be aligned with your core values. We all want to achieve a lot of things, so many thoughts about them cross our heads, for example, looking better or getting richer, but your resolutions have to surpass the border line of just being superficial desires and connect with what truly matters most to you. In other words, as we mentioned above, you have to “Know your why” and feel strictly passionate about the goals you set for yourself. If you don’t, then when the going gets tough or your alarm goes off at 5:30am, you won’t have the determination to stick to your plan. You have to connect your resolutions to those things that give you a sense of purpose and at the same time align with your core values.

2. Be Specific.

Random resolutions to ‘eat better, get fitter, be happier, relax more or have better life balance’ are fated for failure because they lack specificity. When it comes to sticking to plans, the more specific you are, it is more likely that you will be able to succeed. Be it just for your own sake but try to describe your goals and resolutions in ways that allow you to track your growth and development and also assess your success. For example, if you want to build a better connection with your partner, try to have at least one date night per month, or, as I’ve decided with my better-half, one weekend away – without our kids – annually. Likewise if you’re committed to a better health and fitness regime, schedule specifically the number of days or workouts you’ll fit into each week.

3. Don’t Just Think It, Ink it!

A Stanford University study found that when people wrote down what they exactly want to achieve, it increased the probability of them achieving it by over 70%. But, don’t just write down the specific goal, note down how you will feel when you’ve accomplished it. What you are going to do when you have achieved the goal. When you have finished penning your desires, write them down on sticky notes, in particular the words that inspire you most about your goal and put them around your home/office to remind you of why you are dedicated to doing what it takes to bring your goal into reality.

4. Design Your Environment.

Never underestimate the power of your environment to support or interrupt your success. Design your environment so that it’s hard not to do what you have decided. Create a improvement chart, have someone from your family and friends to be your cheer squad and celebrate your achievements, find someone to hold you accountable, hire a trainer, join a group, create a blog. Similarly, if there are people or things in your life that pull you down or off track, address them directly and set whatever boundaries to keep them away.

5. Narrow Your Efforts.

Trying to do too many things at once can make you so unfocused and confused about what you really want and how you are going to achieve it. You won’t even realize which direction you are going in order to achieve the goal. So, set yourself up for success and start with JUST ONE MAJOR responsibility in the first few days. Then gradually, move up the ladder and break your goal down into small steps. Focus on these little steps rather than a strong start!

6. Focus On The Process.

It’s easy to get caught up in an early wave of eagerness, only to come crashing down when your initial efforts don’t produce immediate and amazing results. So focus on the process itself, and develop greater ability of the actual activity, habit or skill you want to acquire. For instance, if you want to become fit, focus on being able to jog a little bit further every time you go for a walk, rather than being able to run 10 miles within a week. Remember, PERSISTENCE ALWAYS PAYS OFF. But, you have to never give in!

7. Forgive Your Failures.

Your setbacks and failures will not define your success in the year ahead or any year. HOW YOU RESPOND WILL. If you happen to mess up, lose your determination, press the snooze button or revert to a familiar well-practiced behavior, don’t stress or beat up on yourself. It is okay, if you didn’t go to the gym like you’d planned. How about indulging in 5 minutes of stretching? When it comes to slipping up and tripping up, you are in good company. It happens to everyone. Just don’t let your mishaps, setbacks and failures mean more than they do. Reflect on the lessons they hold, make adjustments and alterations accordingly and get back in the saddle. Never forget that life rewards those who work at it.

Nitika Sharma
Freelance Writer/ Blogger/ Content Strategist