Create an actionable plan for your resolution, for example transform a broad resolution of “I want to eat healthier” into one or several attainable goals. One such goal could be “I want to eat a new vegetable every week” another could be “I want to make lunches ahead of time so that I don’t eat junk food at work.” Next, develop your plan for how you will implement this goal, what do you have to do each day and what do you have to do ahead of time to prepare for it (such as grocery shopping or getting a lunch bag).
One key piece to any new resolution is a plan for how you are going to remember to do it. Whether it is an app, a whiteboard calendar or weekly agenda stuck to your fridge, some means of scheduling your resolution and monitoring your progress is going to help you stick to it. Check out your device’s app store or invest in that cute weekly planner and start writing out the things you plan to do and when they’re going to be done.
A strategy to turn a resolution into a change that sticks is to use the concept of habit formation. This involves using association, repetition and consistency to develop new automatic behaviors. When we do things over and over, such as buckle our seat belt before starting the car, it becomes an automatic action that you don’t even have to think about or remember to do. This automatic action with association (such as getting in the car) didn’t start right away, but likely took several repetitions and thought out actions before becoming a habit. When starting a new exercise plan such as stretching every morning, you will likely have to use reminders such as phone alarms or sticky notes to tell you it is time to do so. Soon you will associate getting up in the morning with having a second “time to stretch” alarm, eventually you will have the automatic response of stretching in the morning, and then it will start to “feel weird” to not stretch in the morning.