Hand holding a piece of paper that says "I can't do it" with scissors cutting off the "'t" so it say "I can do it"

A new year is the perfect time to reset and refocus, which is why most people make resolutions. From huge habit-changing undertakings to small adjustments to your daily routine, resolutions can be life-changing — if you stick to them. But, according to Business Insider, 80% of people break their resolutions by the first week of February. Sound familiar?

If you strive to be among the 20% that plans on keeping your promise to yourself, it’s important to be your biggest cheerleader. You and only you can make (or break) your resolutions in 2021. Stick to your new year’s resolutions by maintaining positive talk — the thoughts and words you use to describe yourself and your goals.

Swap Out Negative for Positive

First, let’s distinguish the difference between positive talk and negative talk:

Negative Talk:

  • I can’t…
  • I’m not able to…
  • I’m not good enough to…

Now, think about how you can swap out these negative phrases to create positive statements:

Positive Talk:

  • I will learn how to…
  • I will do my best to…
  • I can try to…

Start creating goal-oriented habits by cutting out negative talk and replacing with positive talk.

Eliminate Negative Words From Your Thoughts

When making resolutions, it’s a common practice to say something like, “I’m not going to XXX,” where the “XXX” is the habit you want to break. But, did you know that by just saying those words, even though you say you are NOT going to do it, it still triggers your brain to associate your habits with the actual thing you want to stop doing? 

Instead of using negative words — not, no, never — turn your resolutions or new habits into positive “I Will” statements: 

Negative Talk:

  • I am not going to eat after 9 p.m.
  • I am never going to skip a workout.
  • I am not going to spend so much money on….

Positive Talk:

  • I will eat my last meal at 8 p.m.
  • I will workout 3 times a week.
  • I am going to create a realistic budget to help track my finances.

By making these small adjustments, you are subconsciously telling yourself what you will do versus depriving yourself of what you no longer want to do.

Go Easy on Yourself

Change is not easy. You are going to have good days and bad days, and that’s OK. Be realistic with your resolutions and know that change doesn’t normally happen overnight — it typically takes three weeks to form a new habit.

It’s important to give yourself grace and to be flexible while forming new habits. Avoid an all-or-nothing approach and instead focus on what you have done to make strides. Write these accomplishments down so you can revisit them if you need some motivation. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. If you slip up, reset as soon as you can and get back on track. Don’t be a quitter, be a starter!

Think about this statement from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” It’s up to you. You set your resolutions. You want to make the change. You have committed yourself. Now, you just need to tell yourself that you can.