We’re the first to admit that making your New Year’s resolutions stick is seriously tough. But that doesn’t mean you should ditch ’em altogether. Instead, follow our simple plan for taking your 2012 plans from dreams to reality.
Step 1: Do a Reality Check
Look, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. But there are some things you might not be able to pull off in a year. If you set your sights on something unrealistic, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Instead of vowing to save $1,000 -- a ton of money when you don’t even have a job yet -- focus on something you know you can do, like stuffing half your allowance in a piggy bank every week.
Step 2: Break It Into Chunks
So you’ve got a totally achievable goal -- like making awesome new friends. That’s great and all, but now what? Well, thinking about the result can be intimidating. Avoid psyching yourself out by busting it into manageable mini-goals. Finding your future BFF doesn’t seem so scary if you think of it as just friending a new kid on Facebook. Work up to writing something fun on her wall, then message her about a movie. Take tiny steps until a friendship gently unfolds.
Step 3: See It to Believe It
Research shows that the more you can see yourself getting closer to your goal -- literally -- the easier it is to stay motivated. Grab some poster board and draw a tall rectangle on it. Then hang it in your room and color in some of the rectangle every time you budge closer toward achieving your resolution. Having a visual record of your progress will make you feel awesome and keep you going.
Step 4: Pair off With a Pal
Find out if a friend has a similar resolution as you, then pinky-swear that you’ll help each other stay on track. Not only is it way easier to stay with the game plan when you have someone there for support, but you two can share any awesome pointers to help each other out. Score!
Step 5: Lighten Up!
You’re trying to improve -- not torture -- yourself. Even resolutions that seem like a bummer can be fun if you switch up your approach. Want to eat less junk food? Have a blast trying new healthful foods you might love. You’ve vowed to get more exercise? Don’t hop on the treadmill if you hate running -- sign up for a dance class instead. The best way to achieve any resolution is to actually enjoy yourself along the way!