6 proven hacks that'll help you keep your New Year's resolutions
via Pexels

The vast majority of humanity can't wait to put 2020 in the rearview mirror and embrace 2021 with open arms. Although the COVID epidemic isn't going to end overnight, we can be pretty certain that in four, five, or maybe six months, the world will start to resemble the one we once knew.

So, in the meantime, we can use the new year as an excuse to take stock of our lives and work on some personal changes, so when the pandemic does subside, we'll be ready to live our best life.


A study reported by Inverse found that 44% of Americans are likely or very likely to make a New Year's resolution for 2021.

However, historically the number of people who achieve their resolutions is pretty low. A report in Forbes shows that only about 35% of people actually stay committed to their New Year's goals after the first month, and only 8% accomplish them.

But don't let that get you down. A big reason why people fail at achieving their resolutions is they don't know how to implement personal change.

So we've put together a list of advice from some experts in the fields of psychology and business to help you create a fool-proof plan to achieve your 2021 resolutions.

It's not about will power

"Even though we tend to think that those who keep their self-commitments are enormously disciplined people who are better able than the rest of us to wrestle their unhealthy impulses to the ground, it turns out that those folks don't see themselves that way at all," Erika Andersen, author of "Growing Great Employees, Being Strategic, Leading So People Will Follow and Be Bad First," wrote in Forbes.

"They report being moved toward keeping their self-commitments by strong positive motivations: passion, hope, compassion, excitement, curiosity," Andersen adds.

So if you're looking to lose weight, reframe your thinking around the positive benefits you will get from the change rather than focusing on the discomfort of self-denial.

via Unsplash

Addition by subtraction

A study out of Sweden found that "Fifty-nine percent of participants who set 'approach-oriented' New Year's resolutions— those that were additive, not eliminating — considered themselves successful in keeping up their goals."

However, only "47 percent of participants who set avoidance-oriented resolutions considered themselves to be successful."

So basically it's a lot easier for people to start new behaviors than to stop old ones. A big reason is that when we place limitations on a behavior, such as eating chocolate, our brain turns it into forbidden fruit that becomes an even greater fixation. Instead, focus on starting a habit of eating more fruit.

Make your goal measurable

Jen Sincero, author of "Badass Habits: Cultivate the Awareness, Boundaries, and Daily Upgrades You Need to Make Them Stick,' says the more specific we make our goals, the better.

Instead of making the resolution to, "drink more water," one should pledge something like this: "During the first week of January, I am going to drink three 8-ounce glasses of water a day."

Baby steps

Sincero says that the shorter the time frame we give for our goals, the more likely we are to achieve them. So if you're looking to stop drinking, tell yourself, "I won't drink today" and you'll be more likely to achieve your goal than if you say, "I won't drink all month," which may be too daunting of a task.

This also allows you to stack up victories and stay motivated to achieve your ultimate goal.

Prepare for the dip

Everyone is ready to make big life changes on New Year's day, but what about two weeks later, when you're tired of substituting fruit for chocolate or you really want to plunk down $50 on takeout instead of saving money by cooking for yourself?

By preparing for the dip, we can be ready to answer the big question: "Why am I doing this?" Be sure that you're mentally prepared to answer this question in an unequivocal way when your motivation has waned.

"I am being responsible so that I can live life without crippling financial anxiety."

"I am creating healthy new habits so that I can have more energy and can be more active with my children."

"I am creating a smoke-free lifestyle so that I can live longer, save money, and be free from addiction."

It's also good to regularly spend time thinking through your resolution and imagining a world where you've been successful, to increase your motivation.

Make it fun

Creating new habits doesn't have to be boring or difficult. The more fun we have with our new behaviors, the more likely we are to continue them. Substitute old habits for new ones that you enjoy just as much.

If you hate running on a treadmill, start riding a bike. If you are trying to save money, spend time learning how to cook to replace the fun of eating out. If you are looking to drop a few pounds, replace unhealthy foods that you like with healthy snacks that are just as pleasurable.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.