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5 Tips for Making Sticky New Year's Resolutions

Great tips for sticking with New Year’s Resolutions from a fellow AOPA member

In December we reached out to some AOPA Members to see what their New Year’s Resolutions were, why it was important to them, and how they make them stick. Cara wrote in and gave great tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions achievable in 2021. 

Between the Three-Nine

This New Year’s Day, I’m ready to get after it.

New Year’s resolutions always feel like polite, almost required conversations. My resolutions typically start with losing weight, getting healthier, and then moving onto the exotic plans of long dreamed about trips. These are all fantastic, but way too cliche. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s not to waste any more time on things that aren’t serving me.

What’s the difference between goals that stick and goals that flop? Here are a few ideas to make 2021 the year of getting after it.

5 Ideas for Making Sticky Goals:

1.     Get Real.

Instead of trying to accomplish many different goals, I am going to pick only one goal this year. My aim is to pick one pursuit that has a lot of synergy with other aspects of my life. For me, it’s surfing. I have longed to learn how to surf. This dream has been lurking in my heart for way too long. Plus, I know this goal has other benefits to encourage me—fitness, healthy eating, renewal, and having more fun. My big idea goal for 2021 is to learn to ride a wave.

2.     Get Specific.

It would be easy for me to say my goal is to “learn to surf.” But that isn’t specific enough. I could read a book and be done with that goal. To make it sticky, I’m going to outline details of what that looks like and how it will be accomplished. “I am going to save up and plan for a 5-day learn-to-surf vacation in June of 2021.”

3.     Get Small.

Now that I have my big, specific, idea, I need to brainstorm all the tiny steps to take me there. What location is the best for beginners? How much will it cost? How much do I need to save up? What else will prevent me from doing this? I think map out what all the small, tiny, steps are that tend to cause me to lose steam and forget about my goal. For me, I’m going to list them out in my phone calendar each month, so I can be reminded of what tiny steps need to take me there. Then, I’m going to set ongoing reminders to make sure I don’t lose sight of my goal.

4.     Get Accountable.

Everything is better with friends. Find some friends to partner with you on your goals. If the goal isn’t of interest to them, ask them to help keep you accountable by checking on you. My neighbor helps me stay true to my fitness goals and we encourage each other to eat healthy by swapping healthy recipes. We work out together, walk together, and share healthy ideas every week. She inspires me and I inspire her too. Find other like-minded friends to help journey with you to your goals. It’s so much more fun to partner in community with others as you pursue your dreams.

5.     Get Fun.

Find ways to have fun with your goal setting. For me, when it starts to feel like work, I’m less likely to follow through. When I can give myself grace and keep things light as I pursue my goals, I am more likely to keep going. When I struggle, the hardest part is to keep going and stay true to the higher vision. Yet this is precisely where the goal pursuit gets good. To make my surf goal fun, I’m inviting my 19-year-old son to make it a special mom and son “learn to surf” adventure. Not only does that make it more memorable for both of us, but I get to celebrate with someone I love.

I hope 2021 can be your year of “getting after it.” Dream some big dreams, pick one, and get deeply specific about it. Find some friends to journey with you and above all, keep doing the small things to move you forward. Don’t waste a minute on what you didn’t achieve. Keep pressing forward. Your life is worth the risk of discovering more of your dreams this year.

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