New Year’s resolutions: How to stick to them?

Healthy eating, more exercising, making long nights or even get up earlier. Well known resolutions we try to cling to full of hope every year. But how can you make sure you won’t give up after three weeks? Here are 10 tips from our editors to succeed.

It is already March in the year 2020. The chocolate Easter eggs already have a prominent place in stores and supermarkets and the birds are trying to wake us up in the morning. Oliebollen? Bah. The misty new year and the end of 2019 start to fade into vague memories.  And with that, the resolutions for 2020 are quietly dropping from our list of priorities. 

1. Get through those first three months

Especially the first few months of the new years appear to be crucial to succeed in your resolutions. People who keep up their drive to exercise and eat healthy, are more likely to keep it up for the rest of the year. (source: Nu.nl)

2. Accept little breaks

Many resolutions fail after only a few days. Why? Because it is very easy to give up after a little slip. Did you eat healthy for three days, but then decided to eat two containers of Ben & Jerry’s? Accept that calorie bomb and the after dinner dip. Look at the fifth day as a new day with new chances and opportunities.  Don’t try to compensate for your slip by only eating some lettuce and a few tomatoes’ all day because before you know it, you will find the containers of ice cream in your lap again.

3. Reward yourself or get rewarded

This might sound childish, but rewarding yourself or getting rewarded can really help when making little steps towards your end goal. ‘’I reward myself by buying little presents or doing fun things’’ says Jannick, one of our writers from the Studentenkrant. Is there a good movie playing in the cinema? Go see it when you for example exercised three weeks in a row. Or tell yourself you are only allowed to buy a new piece of clothing after a month of waking up at a certain time.  You could also always make a pitch to your mom and ask if she wants to sponsor you when you reached a certain goal. My mom agreed to give me 50 euros if I wouldn’t drink any alcohol for a while.

4. Tell everybody

Tell as many people as possible about your resolutions and what your goal is. You can even share it on Instagram or Facebook. This way, your best friends, family members or followers can keep an eye on you and check if you are still working on your resolutions. It can be that extra push. ‘’I just tell everybody, because it is pretty awkward if I have to tell them later that I failed’’, says writer Mirre from the Studentenkrant.

5. Remind yourself what you DON’T want

For the third year in a row, you have the same resolution, because it really got out of hand and you have to get rid of that beer belly.  The first month you go to the gym 3 days a week and you pass on the beer. After that the resolution fades away slowly and when the summer comes around, you look at yourself unsatisfied with that killer body still covered by your beer belly. What helps? Hang a very un-charming picture of your beer belly in your room, on a spot you pass numerous times a day. It might be hard to take in the beginning, but this way you will (more often than you would want to) be reminded of your goal. At the end of summer, you of course hang a picture of your tanned killer body next to it.

6. Capture your progress

Is your resolution to be more in the gym to build more muscles? Make, for example, a picture every week of the body parts you focus on while training. Is it your resolution to sleep 8 hours every night? Make a list on your phone or notepad and write down how many hours you sleep every night. By capturing your progress, you are more focussed on your resolution and you have a better overview of what you still have to do to accomplish your goal. It can also give you more insight in your weak moments and you can figure out the reasons for those moments. And be honest, if you already see a difference in your upper arm in week four compared to week one, it’s a lot easier to keep it up for another week.

7. Make it a group activity

Did you decide to cut back on your meat consumption, but is the temptation after a night out to order an XL döner meal almost too big? Ask your roomies, clubmates or best friends to do this challenge together. Decide how long the challenge is, what the rules are and how many anytimer someone gets  or a different punishment) if someone breaks the rules.

Extra tip: buy an A2 cardboard and hang it in your communal room or clubhouse. Write the rules on it, potentially a planning and pimp it with the most charming selfies of everyone involved.

8. Your bed is your best friend

Is your resolution to change that chronic sleep deprivation and do you want to have more hours of sleep every night? Then this tip solves both problems. Because getting enough sleep is very important to succeed in your resolution. As a (young) adult, you need around 8 hours of sleep every night. According to research from the University of Hertfordshire, people who have enough sleep are better capable of sticking to their resolution compared to people that lack sleep. This results in a decrease of your willpower, self-control and perseverance, all due to sleep deprivation. So keep that in mind and stay in bed for those few more minutes! (souce: Nu.nl, Wakker bijBakker)

9. Start again in August

Did you already say goodbye to your resolutions? Take a break and start again in August. According to research from stickK, a platform that (yes really!) offers you the opportunity to make a binding agreement with yourself, August has the best odds of succeeding your resolution. Especially if you enjoyed your free time during the summer vacation or went traveling. At the same time, you could prepare for the new academic year and start your resolution(s) on a blank page.

10. Draw up a contract

As mentioned before, you can draw up an agreement with yourself online through stickK or you can do it yourself. Just google ‘contract resolutions’ and you will find a Dutch website named Signrequest, who also gives you the possibility to draw up an agreement.  Both websites can help you draw up a contract with yourself for your resolutions. You choose a resolution, set goals and decide the consequence for not achieving those goals. Think of donating a certain amount of money to a charity. Then, you can sign the contract yourself and you can let it be signed by a witness. StickK is taking it a step further by giving you the possibility to invite friends, family or strangers to check your progress on the website. You could of course also draw up a contract yourself and let your roommate or friend sign it. The progress of your goals can then be shared in a WhatsApp group with your in-laws. 

Jorien Ottens

Jorien Ottens

Since November 2019, I have the privilege of being on the editorial board of the Studentenkrant with Nouschka and Samy. What do I do? I’m mainly focussing on giving feedback on the Dutch articles being written by our editors. Besides that, I’m leading meetings together with the rest of the editorial board and I’m writing an article one in a while. Why does this make me happy? I love reading, writing, Dutch language, and journalism. Next to that, I wouldn’t miss the fun we have with our editors for the world. It seems like a great combination!