1. Have one solid resolution
Have a very specific goal in mind. Try to avoid something unclear such as putting more effort into things. For instance, my personal goal this quarter is to start meditating, so I’ve signed up for a class online.
2. Know exactly why you want to accomplish your goal
It’s important for you to know what reasons you have for your resolution. Going back to my example about meditation, I’ve realized that I worry about things in the future too often and contemplate the past too often. Meditation, for me, is about learning to appreciate the present so I’m not in thinking mode all of the time. If you can find a motivation for whatever resolution that hits deep into the core of your everyday life, you will be more motivated.
For example, if you want to stop procrastinating, don’t just state your reason as “I want to get better grades”. Think of it as proving to yourself that you have the ability to take on challenges. Doing your homework on time and studying beforehand then becomes subconscious mental preparation for the next time you want to go cliff diving. This might sound a little farfetched, but research has proven willpower is a muscle.
3. Tell your friends AFTER you’ve done it
There is a lot of advice out there that teaches you to tell your friends about your resolution before you go do it. I’m going to argue against that. Here’s the reasoning: when you tell your friends about your goal, they usually congratulate you and say something along the lines of “oh wow I’m glad you’re going to ______”. After that, you feel nice and then there’s no more motivation. Flip the coin and take a first step towards your resolution before you tell someone, so your brain will get a little rush of dopamine to reinforce your goal. Dopamine (a chemical that makes you feel happy) is released by the brain whenever you’re shown something novel or good (i.e. ice cream) or given praise. The feel good chemical helps you to create new habits and reinforce old ones.
So, go out and make a resolution.