With the holiday season here, you might be planning your New Year’s resolutions for sports betting. Maybe you have vowed that this year, you will finally stick with your money management plan. Or perhaps you have resolved to spend several hours each weekend researching betting strategies and developing your skills.
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions, one thing is sure: making them is always easier than keeping them. So what can you do to actually follow through on this year’s New Year’s betting resolutions? Below, we go over some tips and tricks!
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
One of the most common reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail is because they involve goals that were poorly set in the first place.
If you set a goal that you are not likely to be able to achieve in a timely fashion, you are setting yourself up for failure. One good way to make sure that you are setting achievable goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T goals. This abbreviation stands for the following attributes:
Let’s break these down with examples of different resolutions you might make for yourself for the New Year.
An example of a non-specific goal might be, “I resolve to become super amazing at sports betting this year.”
What exactly does “super amazing” mean? It is a subjective goal. What if you are a perfectionist? You might never feel you are “super amazing” even if you do pretty well. You could then become discouraged and give up.
Plus, let’s say you are not doing so well. That is probably because nowhere in your resolution is there enough specificity to guide you down a path of improvement. You might as well have resolved to “cook till done” without a recipe.
A more specific goal could be, “I want to make sure I am always shopping for value and only taking value bets this year.”
You need to have a way to verify that you are actually following through on your goals and accomplishing something.
With the example above about value betting, measurement is easy—you either are taking value bets, or you are not. It should be easy for you to figure out if you are following through.
The “I want to become super amazing” resolution, on the other hand, is no more measurable than it is specific. You cannot quantify “super amazing.” One person’s “super amazing” could be another person’s “just okay.”
Another example of a measurable (and specific) goal might be, “I want to improve my win/loss ratio by X% by the end of this year, as measured over a 30-day period.”
You can measure that just by looking at statistics (and if you are not tracking statistics, yet, you might want to make that one of this year’s New Year’s resolutions).
A useful goal is not only measurable and specific, but also attainable and realistic.
Here is a New Year’s resolution that is not attainable for the average punter: “I resolve to make a million dollars this year betting on sports.”
Why is this not attainable? Because you probably do not have that kind of bankroll.
You could, however, set a goal to make a smaller specific profit—although we would not necessarily recommend it. The pressure to achieve your goal might tempt you into poor bets that actually take you further away. That is especially likely if the year is nearing its end, and you are still not at your goal.
Here is another non-attainable goal: “I resolve this year to win 95% of my bets.” Sorry, that is never going to happen. If you do not understand why, I recommend you do a bit of research to learn about realistic win/loss ratios (the sooner, the better).
This criteria for good goal-setting is pretty self-explanatory. Your resolution needs to be relevant to sports betting to help you improve at it.
Finally, a useful goal should be timely. One of the nice things about New Year’s resolutions is that timeliness is usually built-in. Generally, the idea is to make the change you want this year.
Goals that have no timeframe to speak of tend to fall onto the eternal backburner. There is always something else that seems to be a higher priority.
One word of caution—while it is good to set a timeframe for a goal, it is a mistake to make it too rigid.
Going back to what we talked about before with specific dollar amounts as goals, too much time pressure can lead to poor decisions.
So, remember to keep it flexible. If you set a goal to achieve in 12 months and it takes you 13, 14, or even longer, there is nothing wrong with that.
All that matters is that you are making progress and moving in the right direction. Your time line exists to motivate you, not to constrain you.
You should set S.M.A.R.T. goals as your New Year’s resolutions.
Just Make a Couple of Resolutions
A lot of people fail to follow through on their New Year’s resolutions because they bite off more than they can chew. They start out the year optimistically with a dozen major resolutions, eager to change their lives.
While there is nothing wrong with being ambitious, the reality is that if you try to take on too much at a time, you can easily become overwhelmed by all the massive changes you are trying to make.
You might wear yourself out, or you could simply struggle to remember everything you are supposed to be doing since there is just so much of it.
For those reasons, it is wiser to make just a few New Year’s resolutions, or even just one.
Keeping up with fewer goals is logistically easier, and also demands less energy and patience.
You will do more to change your life by keeping up with just one resolution successfully then you will by failing with five or ten.
Even something that seems super small like “I will focus on only one betting market this year” or “I will quit over-betting” can give your bottom line a significant boost.
Do not make more New Year’s betting resolutions than you are likely to be able to keep. Just make one or two to start with, and see how it goes. You may be surprised by what a difference keeping even just one New Year’s resolution can make.
Share Your Resolutions if it Helps – Keep Them to Yourself if it Doesn’t
When you make a New Year’s resolution, do you usually share it with family and friends, or keep it to yourself?
The decision you make with respect to sharing your resolutions could have an impact on how successful you are following through on them.
If it helps you too have an accountability partner, sharing your resolutions is a good idea. You can check in regularly to share your progress, and ask your accountability partner to periodically ask you how you are doing if you do not check in.
Sometimes, it can also be helpful to make a resolution with someone else. Perhaps one of your friends is also into sports betting, and has similar long-term goals as you do.
Maybe you both have difficulties with the same aspects of betting, and can both resolve together to make certain changes.
For example, maybe you both want to spend more time studying and testing strategies. You could resolve to do so together each weekend for a few hours.
Each of you will help keep the other focused. Plus, the social dimension of your study sessions can make the entire experience more enjoyable. That gives you more motivational fuel.
Additionally, you will be able to relate to each others’ challenges, and can lift each other up if either of you are getting discouraged.
On the flip side, maybe you are someone who finds you talk too much about your resolutions.
Did you spend all of last year telling everyone all about the keto diet you were going to do, but not actually doing it?
You might find yourself slipping into that same pattern with a betting resolution. Maybe you keep telling everyone about your big plan to really throw yourself into betting this year.
Ask yourself—are you talking about it so much because that makes you feel like you are doing something?
If so, maybe it is time to take away that feeling, and admit to yourself that talking does not equal doing.
With the pressure back on, you might actually try some follow-through this year instead.
How you interact with other people surrounding your New Year’s betting resolutions can be important. In some cases, reaching out to others and sharing your resolutions may work great. In other cases, you might need to tune out those distractions and just focus in on doing the individual legwork to achieve your goals.
Make Sure You Know Why You Have Failed in the Past
If you have failed in the past to achieve your New Year’s betting resolutions, it might help to figure out what went wrong.
There are a lot of possibilities:
- You did not set S.M.A.R.T. goals, or there were other logistical hurdles you did not overcome.
- You tried to take on too much.
- Your resolutions were based on satisfying someone else’s objectives or impressing somebody else.
- You had unrealistic expectations or were not patient enough.
- You did not believe in yourself.
Once you figure out why you failed to achieve some of your past New Year’s resolutions, you can do some direct troubleshooting to prevent the same issues from sabotaging your resolutions for the next year.
Most of us have failed at some point to keep our New Year’s resolutions. Think about previous times you failed and why. Once you know why, you can take steps to prevent a repeat.
Plan Ahead and Deal With Logistical Issues
Whatever your New Year’s resolution for sports betting is, you should come up with a concrete plan for how you will follow through.
You can then take the time to iron out any likely logistical hurdles that could get in your way.
Say, for instance, that you only shop the odds sporadically when you bet, but you want to make it your goal for the next year to shop for value every time you wager.
What would prevent you from following through on such a goal? Well, obviously if you feel lazy about it and are not sufficiently motivated, you will not follow through.
But sometimes even if you have every reason to do something and you are not lazy at all, you might still fail.
This could be the case if you have difficulties with executive function, for instance. You might be used to following your existing betting routine without much variance.
So, when you sit down to bet, you might do that again automatically, completely forgetting about your resolution.
If you forget enough times, you might start getting down on yourself, which could discourage you into giving up. Or, you might just forget more and more often until you forget altogether. Before you know it, the next calendar year is over, and you did not keep your resolution.
But you can get around this problem simply by coming up with a way to remind yourself each day to shop for value before you make a bet.
The exact strategy you use to do this will depend on what works for you individually. But here are a couple ideas:
- If you keep a checklist to help you manage the other steps in your betting process that you consult each time you make a wager, you could add it to that list.
- If you do not have a checklist like that, you could start one.
- You could physically leave a note for yourself on top of your laptop keyboard each night. When you open your computer to bet, you will have to pick up the note to use your keyboard, which gives you a chance to acknowledge it.
Having a concrete plan and working around logistical challenges in advance makes it much easier to keep your New Year’s resolutions.
Know Your Motivation.
One of the main reasons why people fail in their New Year’s resolutions is not talked about too much, and that is that they simply are not motivated.
A lot of this probably has to do with the fact that our New Year’s resolutions are built around what we think is expected of us. For instance, every day, you are fed messages that you should be skinnier by family members, TV programs, the internet, and so on, so you resolve to lose weight.
How can this play out with sports betting? Imagine that a friend is helping you learn how to bet, and that friend has a particular way of doing things.
You are trying to follow in your friend’s footsteps, and replicate what he does to win your bets.
So, you make your New Year’s resolutions based on his betting system and his schedule. You then find yourself struggling to follow through.
You think about the rewards of following through, and you imagine yourself rich, and impressing your friend.
Well, those are two different things and they may not be as compatible as they appear.
It could simply be that your friend’s betting system does not suit you and never will. So long as you keep making resolutions that involve that system, you might keep struggling.
It is not that you are not motivated to get rich—it is just that you are not motivated to do it that way except by your urge to impress your friend.
That is an extrinsic motive, it comes from outside of you and also from outside the activity itself (using the betting system).
But if you turn instead to a different betting system that does suit you, you might find some intrinsic motivation.
You could actually enjoy betting with that system, even amid frustrations and losses. That enjoyment could be a payoff in itself that helps you stay motivated.
That type of motivation is likely to be far more compelling than the motivation to impress somebody else.
The motivation to get rich is also extrinsic, while we are discussing this. It can certainly be a strong motivator, but let’s be honest—it is always easier to stick with something we have fun with than something we need, even if it is for survival.
Striving for knowledge and accomplishment are other examples of intrinsic motivators that can propel us forward toward our goals.
So, deciding to use a betting system you find interesting and truly want to master for its own sake will also probably help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
If you are having a hard time keeping your betting resolutions, it is worth analyzing your motives for making those particular resolutions. You might discover that a different approach motivates you more effectively. It could just be that the resolution you are making is not the ideal one to move you forward on your betting journey.
Take Shame Out of the Equation
One key reason we fail in keeping our New Year’s resolutions it that we just get so down on ourselves when we do not succeed right away.
Maybe last year you set a goal that you would stick to a schedule with your sports betting and finally turn it into a real stream of income and not just a hobby.
But perhaps a lot of things came up last year that made it hard to keep that resolution. You might have gotten caught up in other obligations, and simply not had the time you resolved to dedicate.
As you fell short of meeting your own expectations, you might have thought, “Wow, I really cannot do anything right, can I? Once again, I just proved I do not have what it takes. I guess I am not cut out to do this after all.”
But what good does all this shame and self-loathing do you? All it does is keep you trapped. It cages you within a particular vision of yourself, one that is narrow and restricted, and can only walk the path of failure time and again.
If you want to succeed at sports betting, that is not the story you want to be telling yourself over and over.
Plus, when you feel that kind of shame, you forget that you are essentially OK. You get intent on punishing yourself.
So, what do you expect to happen the next time you make a resolution? Chances are good that you will punish yourself. You will unconsciously find a way to set yourself up for failure (it could be something as simple as setting an unachievable goal). You will then fail, and then hate yourself some more.
The cycle of guilt and shame with failed resolutions is unnecessary. You are OK. Making mistakes and setting inappropriate goals happens—they are part of being human. It is your right to make mistakes without being punished for them.
Not only that, but real life happens too, and sometimes even when we do everything we can to follow through on our betting resolutions, we still fail. Other things get in the way. There is no reason to blame yourself for that.
See if you can leave shame out of the equation the next time you make a betting resolution.
Ask yourself where all that shame came from. It was probably your parents, teachers, or others in your life as a child that taught you the negative messages you keep sending yourself. They are not from you, and ultimately are not even about you. They say a lot more about how those people felt about themselves.
What should you do if you do find yourself failing to keep your New Year’s resolutions next year? Try revisiting them. Maybe you can adjust them in some way.
For instance, maybe you planned to work on betting for two hours a day after work, and you’ve only been managing an hour on some days and not at all on other days.
Think carefully over your schedule. Was two hours a day really realistic? Maybe not. But maybe an hour 5 days a week is, and you can stick with that. If you do, that is not a failure—that is a success!
One of the biggest emotional factors that holds us back from succeeding with our resolutions with betting is our shame when we fail. Release that shame to give yourself the emotional space you need to instead make helpful adjustments. Keep your focus on the future, not the past. Fix your mistakes, but do not beat yourself up over them.
Reward Yourself for Following Through.
As we discussed before, the more intrinsic reward there is in following through on your betting resolutions, the easier it will be for you to stick with them.
But there is no denying that there are times when we all are just not feeling it. However much we care about something, we find ourselves struggling with boredom or distraction.
Betting on sports can be exhilarating but there is sometimes a lot of tedious legwork involved.
One easy hack to help you keep moving forward at times like that is to give yourself some additional motivation.
You can do that simply by promising yourself a reward if you follow through.
That reward could have something to do with betting, like putting extra money into your account, or it could be something else that is completely unrelated, like going out for dinner somewhere nice.
Whatever it is, it should be something you would not otherwise do for yourself. The more you want it, the better it will work.
You can give yourself one big reward for following through on your goals over a long period of time, or you can give yourself incremental smaller rewards for following through over shorter periods of the year. Just do whatever works for you!
Note that this reward strategy not only works great for getting through tedious tasks, but also for any resolution that pushes you outside your comfort zone (i.e. branching out with new strategies or into different betting markets).
Rewards can offer great motivation for keeping up with your betting resolutions.
Do Not Make a New Year’s Resolution Just to Make a New Year’s Resolution
One more reason that New Year’s resolutions commonly fail is probably that people associate them exclusively with the holiday season.
In fact, we are willing to wager that if you are reading this post, it is either late in the year, with New Year’s Eve coming up fast, or it is early in the year, and you just recently made your resolutions.
Let’s face it, by the time July rolls around, how many people are even thinking about their New Year’s resolutions anymore?
In fact, by the time February is here, the majority of New Year’s resolutions are bust.
How do we know? We checked. USA Today says, “It seems Jan. 17 is D-Day for New Year’s resolutions – the day most people give up on good intentions and fall back into old habits. Strava, a social network for athletes that tracks runs and bike rides, looked at more than 108 million entries in the U.S. and found Thursday is when Americans are most likely to bail out on fitness resolutions.”
It isn’t all bad news though. The article continues, “However, many do stick with it past Jan. 17. In fact, about 40 percent are successful at the six month mark, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton.”
A lot of folks probably make New Year’s resolutions just because they feel they are expected to, it is a holiday tradition. That way, when someone asks them if they have any, they have an answer to give.
If your only motive in making a sports betting resolution is indeed to have something to talk about on New Year’s Eve, of course you will probably fail (nor should you feel bad about it).
But if you are making a resolution you really care about, you do stand a good chance of succeeding, especially if you keep in mind some of the other advice we have offered.
But you might want to think of it less as a “New Year’s resolution,” and more as a “whole year’s resolution.”
In short, you should be as interested in an article like this in July as you are in December or January.
Some people make New Year’s resolutions just to do something in the spirit of the holiday. But if you make a New Year’s resolution that you are serious about, you might join a sizeable populace that does keep New Year’s resolutions successfully over the long germ.
Good Luck Keeping Your New Year’s Sports Betting Resolutions
Now you have some tips to help you keep the New Year’s sports betting resolutions you make.
This same advice can come in handy at any point throughout the year. If you want to be a sharp, you need to constantly be learning, refining, and pushing yourself in new ways. That means you are going to make a lot of resolutions over the course of your sports betting career.
Good luck—and if your next resolution is to find a high quality sportsbook, check out our reviews to find the best promos and odds.
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