How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
For some, it’s a night of glittering parties and overindulging. Others prefer to have a quiet night at home. There’s a good chance you make vague promises to yourself each year, no matter how you spend your night. After all, about 38.5% of US adults resolve to make New Year’s resolutions each year.
Whether it’s exercising more often, eating less, learning a new language, or writing that book, ambition and aspiration are all on the list. Then comes February, and the resolutions are often forgotten, like deflated party balloons. In fact, only 9% of Americans who make resolutions actually stick to them. Also, according to research, 23% of people give up their resolutions within the first week, and 43% by the end of January.
But this year — how about we break the cycle? How? Using a simple yet powerful tool — we all possess our Calendar.
Chart Your Course – Tap into The Power of Specificity
Getting the most out of the calendar starts with ditching vague pronouncements. It has been proven that setting specific and challenging goals leads to higher performance 90% of the time when people follow these two principles. After all, a specific, challenging goal will motivate you to achieve it more effectively.
Rather than saying, “Get healthy,” define what that means to you. Is it a daily walk? What about weekly yoga sessions? Would you like to cook more meals at home? Always remember: Specificity is key.
Next, break down your concrete goals into bite-size, actionable chunks.
Let’s say you want to run a 5K. During the week, scheduled training runs gradually, increasing in distance and intensity. Are you interested in learning French? Every day, schedule practice sessions that focus on vocabulary and grammar.
Remember, Rome was not built in a day, and your dreams won’t come true overnight. Nevertheless, you will be amazed at how quickly you will progress with consistency and achievable steps.
The Art of Successful Scheduling
Let your calendar be your canvas, waiting to be decorated with your resolutions. Each goal should be given its own dedicated time slot, with the same respect you would with an important meeting.
You might consider scheduling gym sessions, language practice, or writing sprints as non-negotiable appointments. As a result, you not only dedicate space for your goals but also send a powerful message to your subconscious about your commitment.
Embrace the Power of Recurring Events
In most calendars, recurring events are one of the most powerful features. Use this to your advantage. The following ideas may be helpful:
- Do you want to make reading a daily habit? Every morning or evening, set aside 15 minutes for reading.
- Are you dreaming of becoming a piano virtuoso? Make sure to block out recurring practice sessions every week.
When recurring events become a part of your routine, your willpower is no longer required, allowing you to progress effortlessly. Plus, it ensures you won’t schedule anything else during this time.
Visualize Your Victories
There is more to calendars than just scheduling. It is also possible to use them as motivational tools. Specifically, you can use them to celebrate your achievements and track your progress.
If you’ve completed a workout, mark it off with a flourish. Or show pride by coloring in mastered language lessons. As your calendar fills with accomplishments, you will be motivated to keep going.
You can also try Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity strategy, called “Don’t Break the Chain” or “The Seinfeld Method.” Back in the day, in his apartment, he had a calendar with a year’s worth of dates on the wall. When he wrote a joke, he used a red marker to mark a red X next to each date.
“After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it, and the chain will grow longer every day,” he explained. “You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is not to break the chain.”
Tame the Temptation Monster
Most of us have been here at some point. It starts out great; you’re sticking to your resolutions like a champ, and then BAM! The ugly head of temptation rears its ugly head again. These temptations threaten to derail your progress: that extra slice of cake, that Netflix binge, that siren song of the snooze button.
The good news is that you can overcome these obstacles with your Calendar’s help.
- Schedule your safeguards. Prepare ahead of time for pitfalls and plan your escape route proactively. Are you stressed out? Taking a stroll in nature is a good idea. Do you have a sweet tooth? Make sure you block out time for meal preparation. If you proactively schedule these “anti-temptation” buffers into your calendar, you will be less likely to give in to impulsive behavior.
- Harness the power of deadlines. The right amount of pressure can sometimes be beneficial. Your calendar is a great tool for setting deadlines for smaller milestones within your resolutions. When you see a looming due date, it can keep you motivated and on track.
Befriend the Buddy System
We’re social creatures, and accountability thrives in companionship. Despite this, only 20% say they keep themselves accountable for achieving their goals.
Instead, share your goals with a friend, family member, or member of an online community who will support you. You can then schedule frequent check-ins, celebrate milestones together, and offer encouragement.
Overall, knowing someone is invested in your journey adds more motivation and keeps you focused.
Be Bold, Not Basic
It’s important to remember that your calendar is your canvas. As such, don’t be afraid to get creative by trying:
- To differentiate between different types of goals, use color-coding.
- Feature inspiring quotes or motivational images on specific dates.
- Assess your progress and adjust your plan as necessary by scheduling “check-in” appointments with yourself.
The more personalized and engaging your calendar, the more likely you will stick with it.
You can crush resolutions with today’s digital calendars thanks to various features.
For example, you can set reminders to prompt you when it’s time to move. Your calendar can also be synced across devices for seamless access wherever you are. Additionally, you should use an app like Trello or Asana to break down significant goals into manageable tasks and chart your progress.
Technology is your friend; use it wisely to empower your calendar and conquer your aspirations.
Celebrate (and Adapt)
Staying committed to your resolutions is a marathon, not a sprint. Setbacks, bumps, and stumbles will occur along the way. So, it’s important to remember that even the mightiest oak started from a tiny seed.
- Mark your wins. Every victory, no matter how small, deserves recognition. Make time in your calendar to celebrate these accomplishments. Have you finally mastered that yoga pose? Take time to pamper yourself with a massage. Have you achieved your writing goal? Buy yourself a new book as a reward. Positive behavior and motivation are reinforced by celebrating your progress.
- Embrace the pivot. Life is full of surprises. As such, your resolutions may need to be adapted at times. If circumstances change, don’t be afraid to reschedule activities or adjust your goals. You must remain flexible and committed to the journey as a whole, not just to a rigid plan.
From Resolution Graveyard to Triumphant Timeline
As you turn your calendar into an accountability partner, you’ll be amazed at how your resolutions become celebrated successes.
Keep in mind that consistency is key. Keep track of your progress, show up for your scheduled activities, and celebrate your success. With a calendar, you will have a silent cheerleader, an unwavering motivation, and a reminder of the power of small, consistent steps.
Get your calendar out and stop thinking about the future. You can unlock your full potential in 2024 if you use your trusty calendar. After all, with a little planning, a dash of creativity, and plenty of determination, you can transform your calendar into a triumphant timeline of personal growth and success.
Happy New Year, and happy calendaring!
Why should I use a calendar for my resolutions?
You can use a calendar to keep track of your goals visually. You can use it to:
- Set deadlines. Set specific due dates for each of your resolutions.
- Stay on track. You will be held accountable for your goals if they are written down and scheduled in your calendar.
- Celebrate progress. The feeling of accomplishment you get from marking off completed tasks motivates you to keep going.
Which calendar should I use?
Calendars come in many different types, so pick one that fits your needs and preferences. Among the most popular options are:
- Wall calendars. These are great for visual learners if you want to see your goals at a glance.
- Planner calendars. You can write down more details, such as daily tasks and to-do lists.
- Digital calendars. The convenience of these is ideal for people who are always on the go. From any device, you can access your calendar and set reminders.
What are some common challenges people face to keep their New Year’s resolutions?
Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be challenging for many people for several reasons:
- Setting unrealistic goals. Goals should be challenging but achievable. The more ambitious your goals are, the more likely you will give up.
- Lack of planning. It’s not enough to list resolutions and hope for the best. Think about how you will reach your goals and put some time into planning.
- Lack of motivation. Losing motivation is expected from time to time. Keeping your resolutions is excellent, but if you fail to stick to them, you must figure out how to stay motivated.
- Unexpected setbacks. Things don’t always go according to plan in life. Adapt to setbacks, and do not let them derail your progress.
Is there anything I can do each month to stay on track?
Start each month by reviewing your goals and breaking them down into smaller steps. Next, schedule these steps in your calendar. In your schedule, make sure you leave some room for unexpected events.
Also, check your calendar regularly during the month to track your progress. Keep your goals and schedule flexible, and don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes.
What if I get off track?
If you slip up, don’t get discouraged. Everyone experiences it!
In order to get back on track, it is essential to get back on track as soon as possible. Make a plan to get back on track and keep moving forward without beating yourself up about it.
To help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions, here are some additional tips:
- Find an accountability partner. Motivating yourself can be easier if you have someone to check in with.
- Reward yourself for your progress. By staying positive and motivated, you can achieve your goals.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do not be afraid to ask a friend, family member, or professional for help if you are struggling.
Image Credit: Polina Kovaleva; Pexels