Whether you resolve to lose weight or change an unhealthy habit, sticking to a year-long commitment requires determination and dedication. For many, staying on track is easy for the first few months. Still, as the calendar marches on, some struggle to maintain.
The key to succeeding in your New Year’s resolutions is by setting realistic goals for yourself. When deciding on a long-term objective, create a list of small steps to take that make the ultimate achievement more accessible. Reaching little milestones throughout the year can help make the process more fun and rewarding.
Check out these tips from the American Psychological Association to keep yourself motivated and achieve the great results you desire.
CHANGE ONE BEHAVIOR AT A TIME
If you have several bad habits that you plan to resolve, avoid becoming overwhelmed by addressing each one separately. Consider which behavior is most important to cut out of your life and start there.
When your goal is to get into the gym but membership is hard to afford, you can work on cutting out habits like smoking or eating out to save money. Until you have the savings from avoiding expensive behaviors, work out at home before funding a year-long membership fee at your local facility. Cutting out expensive or unhealthy addictions will lead to a healthier lifestyle that can impact your performance once you do hit the gym.
FIND A SUPPORT GROUP
Working toward achievements with friends or like-minded peers is a great way to be held responsible for ultimately reaching your goals. Find people in your life who plan to set similar New Year’s resolutions and ask to team up or form a bond of support. Plan to communicate each week and discuss how things are going and talk through any setbacks.
When unable to find someone close to you for support, take advantage of social media groups where you can connect with people all over the world. The multiple points of view can paint a better perspective that will help reach your goal in a different way than you imagined.
DON’T BECOME DISCOURAGED
Try not to beat yourself up if you don’t meet the milestones as quickly as you imagined. Changing your lifestyle can be difficult. Use the setbacks as learning experiences to put into action when you are discouraged or feel like giving up on your resolutions.
Create an Emergency Fund
The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic left millions of Americans without their jobs and income they rely on to make ends meet. Kaiser Health News reports that as of May 2020, more than 39 million Americans had filed for unemployment benefits.
The sudden shutdown of businesses large and small can teach us the importance of having an emergency fund to help get through tough times. America’s Debt Help Organization recommends that people have enough savings to cover at least three months of expenses. An emergency fund that can last up to six months is preferable, as it can protect you and reduce your need to rely on high-interest credit cards or loans.
Building an emergency fund can seem like an uphill battle if you find it challenging to add to a savings account after your monthly commitments. Consider these tips that can cause significant growth over time.
• Get a part-time job during your free time. Commit to using the additional funds solely for saving.
• Cut expenses that cause a strain to your budget. Consider avoiding eating out or buying a daily coffee.
• As you spend cash throughout the day, promise to add all the change into a jar. Once the container is full, deposit the accumulated coins into a savings account.
These simple guidelines will help you gain traction in an emergency fund plan while providing satisfaction as your nest egg grows.
FACE YOUR DEBT
You can find more room in your budget for savings by cutting down high-interest debts and high monthly payments. Analyze your financial responsibilities on paper by jotting down the due dates, costs and interest. Talk to your lenders about more feasible commitments or consider lumping credit card debts and loans into one manageable payment. You may find a better interest rate that will save you a significant amount of money that can be included in your emergency fund.
OPEN A SEPARATE ACCOUNT
It’s essential to keep emergency funds separate from an easily accessible checking account. Try to monitor your primary account and transfer any surpluses to savings to prepare for an unexpected expense or other financial situation.
Share a Hobby
There is no shame in enjoying different activities than your spouse. However, when you find a hobby to share, a door opens that can strengthen a relationship and invite a more profound connection by learning new interests together. Remember to keep an open mind when discovering a new passion. One of you may need to compromise to find an activity to enjoy together. Don’t be surprised if a new hobby as a couple doesn’t make sense right away. Compile a list of the things you like to do separately and try to find common ground with a few different things.
For instance, if being physically fit is a goal, consider accompanying one another on nature hikes or trips to the gym. Having a companion who can hold you accountable for your fitness goals can be a huge benefit that keeps you on track.
Once you have a few listed activities, narrow them down by considering which would be easily accomplished in your area, making sense to your budget. Here are a few hobbies to consider taking on as a team and building a stronger bond.
Find a cause you’re passionate about and donate your time to propel the movement further. According to the organization Project Helping, volunteering is a productive activity that spikes endorphins in the brain like oxytocin to help people better manage stress. The shared experience of benefiting a worthy charity causes couples to build a better companionship while improving their community.
LEARN A SPORT
There are numerous sports to take on as a couple. Games like golf, tennis or bowling all offer positive mental and physical benefits while providing different paces for participants. Spend your free time competing and pushing each other to become fluent in the sport. Once you feel confident in your abilities, consider recruiting other couples to play against or join a tournament with others in the community.
ENJOY THE ARTS
Take a different approach to date night by skipping the meal and drinks for a wholesome painting or drawing class in your area. You can likely find varying degrees of difficulty from beginner to expert as your skills advance. Couples should keep the artwork they create to look back on fond memories of a unique way to bond.