Every New Year is greeted with the flash of fireworks and the excitement of starting something new. For some, New Years’ Eve and New Years’ Day provide the opportunity to reminisce on how fast the last year passed and celebrate the occasions that marked the year gone by. And for a majority of individuals, New Years’ Day provides the opportunity to begin a New Years’ resolution. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans simply do not finish their New Years’ Resolution. It always humors me when I hear statistics such as how 80% of individuals with new gym memberships in January, likely trying to fulfill their health-related resolutions, quit within five months of starting. We love to make resolutions, but keeping up with them is a much harder task. In this article, I will offer my advice on resolutions and how to maintain your stamina in keeping your resolution when the going gets tough.

The first step to keeping your resolution is to somehow keep track of your progress. Mentally, it can be really difficult to maintain stamina on a resolution if there is no evidence of growth or hitting certain goals. If you keep track of your progress, or even just keep a log of how you are completing your resolution, it’s much easier to keep going. For example, many individuals have the amazing resolution to read the Bible in one year. This is an amazing choice and one that is extremely beneficial. However, there are certain moments, such as when a reader hits Leviticus or 1 Chronicles, that there is often a lack of motivation to keep going. But some apps and plans include either a counter or some other tracking method that encourages readers to keep going. When you see that you have a streak of 7 days, or 20 days, or even 100 days, it encourages you to keep going. Also, keeping track of your progress allows one to see growth over time, as well as the ability to look back when the year is done. Keeping track of your progress is a powerful tool that encourages continuing in your resolution.

Another helpful tool for maintaining a resolution could be introducing goals and rewards throughout the year to incentivize continuing in this yearlong pursuit. Incentives and reward systems are used in countless careers and contracts to encourage better work performance, and this system can be utilized in resolutions as well. For example, it might be helpful to celebrate at the halfway point of the year or the ending of the year or celebrate whenever some goals are met. Now, goals and rewards will be different for every individual, but it is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made. Goals and rewards are excellent methods that can help in continuing a resolution for the entire year.

One of the most powerful tools for maintaining a resolution is to invite accountability into the whole experience. Accountability is an incredibly important aspect to consider with your resolution as it can be encouraging, empowering, and convicting. Inviting others into your resolution ensures a level of perseverance as there is always someone to encourage and motivate you onwards. Your goals, celebrations, and also failures are known to all. Now, this could be through simply telling close friends of your resolution and asking them to consistently keep you accountable for your commitment. However, you could also pursue accountability by completing your resolution with others, which provides additional benefits, as you are not in the journey alone. Ultimately with both scenarios, accountability requires thinking seriously about your resolution. With accountability in the mix, it is much harder to quickly let go of a resolution, as friends will step in to see what is going on. Accountability is one of the best tools to maintain a resolution through the course of an entire year.

A New Years’ resolution is very hard to keep. It is difficult to persevere over an entire year and push oneself to grow in a certain area constantly. Yet, these three tools – keeping track of your progress, utilizing goals and rewards, and instituting accountability – all will aid in maintaining a resolution for the long haul. The hope is that at the end of the year, you can look back and see the growth that has resulted. I hope that these tips can be of help to you in this next year in the resolutions that you make.