It’s the same routine every year. Set a resolution and proclaim that it’s your year to finally make a change. But by February or March, the same old habits creep back into your life. If you’re ready to make 2021 the year your resolution sticks, try these helpful tricks to keep yourself focused and dedicated to positive changes.

Visualize your “why.”

Visualization is powerful for motivation, but it’s hard to visualize abstract goals. If you want to lose weight so that you can fit into your old jeans again, you might lose sight of that goal quickly. But, if you want to lose weight so you can run a mile without getting winded, you may have an easier time seeing and feeling yourself achieve that end goal—and then doing what you need to do to stay on track.

Incorporate incentives for positive reinforcement.

When you want to teach your pet to avoid destructive behaviors, you probably use positive reinforcement rather than negative punishments. Yet too often we will criticize ourselves for slip-ups and fail to recognize our own positive behaviors. Change that pattern by creating incentives for your own small achievements. For example, finishing a chapter in a new book might be rewarded with an hour of watching your favorite binge-worthy sitcom.

Seek external accountability.

Your motivation doesn’t have to come entirely from within. Often, it’s helpful to enlist a trusted buddy to take part in new activities (or quit the harmful ones) with you. Even without a direct partner in your goal, consider asking friends and relatives to hold you accountable for your goals in different ways. Again, think of accountability as more positive reinforcement to support good behaviors rather than guilt and punishment for slipping up.

Set mini-goals.

Your New Year’s resolution is most likely a big goal such as “lose 50 pounds” or “learn to cook.” However, goals of this magnitude can be daunting and easy to lose sight of. Instead of tackling one big goal, set smaller benchmarks so that you can frame your success as a series of achievements with each one providing more motivation for the next.

MeMD can offer added support for your resolutions and your general wellbeing with counseling and therapy available over the web. Contact us today to get in touch with a licensed mental health professional in as little as 24 hours.

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