Diet & Weight Loss

8 Self Challenges that Will Help You Keep Your Hardest New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions aren’t easy to keep. As the year goes by, resolutions get ignored, forgotten, or flat-out broken. We went to the experts to learn some new challenges that will help you stay on track with your resolution 365 days a year.

By Felissa Benjamin Allard

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Saving money
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According to the Washington Post, between 40 and 50 percent of people make resolutions, but by three months into the New Year, almost half of those have abandoned them. Only 19 percent of people admit to keeping to their resolutions the entire year. Sonia Satra, mindset and fitness expert and founder of the wellness program Moticise, says one way to stick to your money saving resolution is to write out a check for $100 to a charity or political candidate you do not want to support and then give it to a friend. Next, set a goal of how much money you want to save per month. If you don’t meet that goal, your friend gets to send in that check! Want more? Read these smart money tips from born savers.

Be happier
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According to The Power of Positivity, an easy happiness challenge is to get an empty jar. Every time something good happens, write it down and put it in the jar. Next New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and read all the amazing stuff that happened throughout the year. (Here are truly unusual ways to be happier.)

Losing weight
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Mind and fitness expert Satra believes keeping your resolution to lose weight is completely doable. She suggests making two vision boards, one filled with pictures of your goals such as fit people, or a bathing suit you may want to wear. On the second board, put negative images that you associate with being overweight such as clogged arteries or an unflattering picture of yourself. Keep both boards together somewhere where you’re sure to see them each and every day, such as on the refrigerator or next to your bathroom mirror. “When you’re feeling unmotivated, or tempted to eat that donut, remember your two vision boards,” adds Satra, “They’re what you’re really choosing between!” (Here’s how to lose weight without diet or exercise.)

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Working out

Adam Rosante, the bestselling nutrition and strength coach, recommends starting off small. “On week one, do five minutes of at-home body weight exercise, on three non-consecutive days” he says. “Each week that follows, add just another five minutes. So, in week two you’ll have 10 minutes; in week three you’ll have 15; and in week four you’ll have worked yourself up to a full 20-minute workout. It’s amazing what we’re capable of when we take small, consistent steps.” He also recommends printing out a monthly calendar and tacking it on the wall. Each time you finish a workout, draw a big X through that day. Rosante says don’t overdo it and aim for three Xs a week. “It becomes an addictive visual game that can translate to a stronger, healthier, more sculpted you.,” he says. Here are 11 more tricks to get motivated at the gym.

Decluttering
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If the idea of decluttering and organizing your entire house seems overwhelming, Roland and Galina Denzel, co-authors of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well: 52 Ways to Feel Better in a Week, suggest picking one area or room each month and focusing on that. Put smaller projects on your calendar each month and on your to-do list just like any other appointment or errand. If you set up reminders, this will help you stop procrastinating and lead to more accountability. “Plan a realistic amount of time, such as an hour over two or three days, to complete it,” add both Denzels, “Once you have decluttered, think about how it will positively influence your mood, productivity, energy, overall enjoyment of being in that area. This will help you keep it organized longer.” Check out these decluttering tips for small spaces.

Eating better
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Rosante says there is an easy way to stay accountable to what you eat. “Write down everything you eat and drink for three days,” Rosante recommends. “The simple process of having to write it down holds you accountable and will naturally course correct your behavior. Try it and see!” (These 30 healthy-eating tips might just change your life.)

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Gratitude
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Brett Graff, The Home Economist, thinks gratitude should be something everyone works on in the new year. The challenge here is remembering and reminding yourself of this every day. Graff recommends sticking a post-it note on your phone or alarm clock every night. Write down something you’re grateful for and let it be the first thing you see in the morning. “After the chaos of the day, the office, the kids, the house, remind yourself it’s great to have the paycheck, the love of your children, and the roof over your head,” says Graff. As this starts to become routine, add in other notes throughout the day where you’re sure to see them, keeping the positive energy going throughout the day. Here are daily habits of naturally grateful people.

Kindness
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Graff also believes that we should be kinder to ourselves and others. “Start by giving yourself a big break,” she shares. “When you drop the plate or spill the drink, do not—I repeat do not—say, “I’m such an idiot.” Try soothing yourself with deep breathing whenever you feel something go wrong. After a week, start including other people, adding in one act of kindness each week that helps someone else. “For example, it might be dinner for your busy neighbor or a coffee with sugar for your tired spouse, and remember, it’s not kind if you expect anything in return,” Graff adds.

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