How to Stick to Your Resolutions — No Excuses

New Year’s resolution makers tend to be overly optimistic. We swear that this time around, we will follow our New Year's resolutions with no excuses. The new year (hey there, 2015!) feels like a clean slate, so we vow to become the best versions of ourselves… and often go overboard. We promise to get fit, save money, break bad habits, and basically just do ALL THE THINGS. Then we go back to work for a couple weeks and reality sinks in. The calendar year may have changed, but your schedule hasn’t, and you are exhausted.

January is truly a test of your willpower. Will you actually make coffee at home and skip your morning Starbucks to save money? Will you go to the gym after work or head home, do 10 pushups, and call it a night? Will you read before bed, or swipe through matches on Tinder instead? When we realize how much time and effort our resolutions take, it’s easy to get lazy and make excuses.

Statistics show that most people bail on their New Year’s goals, but you don’t have to be one of them. Let this list of typical resolutions, along with rebuttals to the excuses you might make to break them, be your Yoda-like voice of reason. You can stick to your goals this month — and the rest of the year!

1. Get fit

Your Excuse: You don't have time to go to the gym, and it's too cold to run outside. Besides, you're so hungry after work that you don't have the energy for a workout, and by the time you digest a snack, it'll be too late. Hello, you need sleep!

The Rebuttal: You do have time because you just watched four episodes of Friends on a week night, and with the right layers, running in the winter isn't so bad! It's true, you do need to properly fuel yourself before a workout. Instead of waiting for dinner, have a healthy late afternoon snack at work. That way your stomach won't be growling before you hit the gym. And remember, you don't have to work out for an hour — go for 20 minutes if that's all you can manage today, or do a quick yoga video at home.

2. Pick up a new hobby

Your Excuse: Ugh, knitting seemed like something fun to do while Netflix-ing at night, but you're really terrible at it. It's not that you're never going to knit again, but this scarf can wait a few months. And that Meetup group you joined? They're not going to miss you if you don't show up.

The Rebuttal: You just started knitting (or whatever hobby you chose), so you're not going to be amazing right away. Give it time, and if you really don't enjoy this activity, pick a new one! And you should definitely go to your Meetup group. You'll probably make new friends if you keep going back, and then it won't feel like a chore to go.

3. Break a bad habit

Your Excuse: One cigarette with your friends outside the bar isn't going to kill you... but this really is the last one! Also, is biting your nails really so bad? Long nails are kind of gross anyway.

The Rebuttal: Smoking is addictive, and that one cigarette will only make quitting harder to do. Besides, it's January! Do you really want to stand outside and smoke in the cold? As for biting your nails... mittens, maybe?

4. Save money

Your Excuse: You told yourself you were going to buy lunch one time a week, but twice a week doesn't make that much of a difference. And this lunch you packed can stay in the office fridge till tomorrow, so you won't even need to pack another! Also your coworker invited you to go, and you need to get away from your desk for your sanity.

The Rebuttal: An extra $8 to $12 for lunch every week totally adds up, and you already have a lunch packed. Join your coworker for the walk if she's picking up lunch to-go, and tell her about your goal to cut down on eating lunch out. Then you can plan once-a-week eats and plan alternative outings other days.

5. Eat better

Your Excuse: OK, these kale smoothies for breakfast are getting really old... you're just going to grab a Danish at the coffee shop instead. And who has the time to make these Pinterest paleo dinners every night?

The Rebuttal: The resolution is to eat better, not like a total health nut. First off, you can give yourself a break every so often (that one Danish won't kill you, but don't make it a morning habit). Experiment with some easy weeknight dinners that you like, and make enough for leftovers. Just blast some Beyonce while you cook, and it won't seem so bad.

6. Get tidy and organized

Your Excuse: It's easier to find things on your desk in piles because it's what you're used to. And who has time to clean their house during the week? You'll get to it on the weekend — if you're not busy with friends.

The Rebuttal: Just clean your desk! Friday afternoon (you know, when you waste the last hour of work on Twitter), start sorting through the clutter. Soon you'll be so used to your new filing system that you'll wonder how you went so long without it. As for your house, do you really want to spend an entire Sunday cleaning? If you do odds and ends around the house gradually throughout the week, you can sleep in on the weekend without feeling guilty about your to-do list.

7. Spend less time on social media

Your Excuse: So the point was to live your life instead of post about it, you know that, but who says you can't stalk other people's lives on Instagram and Facebook instead? Just 10 more minutes and then you'll read instead.

The Rebuttal: It's hard to avoid all social media these days, so just stick to a limit. You don't need to tweet about your every thought and activity! Put your phone and laptop in your bedroom, and then head into your living room to read. Out of sight, out of mind.

8. Stop nagging your significant other

Your Excuse: You're allowed to nag him (or her) when he never picks up after himself! You're not a housewife, it's not your job to clean everything, so you're entitled to voicing the truth.

The Rebuttal: Your SO should totally help around the house, that's true. But you can ask for help without starting an argument or making a snarky remark you'll probably apologize for later. Bite your tongue and remind yourself of all the things you love about this person, then speak your mind.

9. Read more

Your Excuse: Reading listicles like this on the Internet counts, right? Anyway, you need sleep.

The Rebuttal: Yeah, you need sleep, so staying away from computer screens at night and reading instead will help you get more of it. There are so many good books out there, and you'll miss out on all the literary magic if you neglect reading. Try to read for 20-30 minutes before bed every night, and join a book club to keep you motivated.

10. Drink less

Your Excuse: But everyone else is getting a second drink at happy hour!

The Rebuttal: Stop being a follower! Just think, you'll save money if you skip a second drink. Sip on a glass of water instead. If anyone is pressuring you, they're jerks anyway.

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