We’ve all been through it a dozen times before, right? You make a New Year’s resolution with the very best of intentions and a can-do attitude. “This year I’m really gonna do it…” and within two weeks, we’ve slipped back into old habits. However, there are ways to ensure that you stick to your New Year’s resolutions!
I think part of the problem is that we all tend to make sweeping resolutions, which are hard to reach. In addition, some people (and I’ve been guilty of this on occasion) make resolutions that they’re not really committed to in the first place – sometimes this is alcohol fuelled, not that I’m speaking from experience you understand…I’m not, really.
Nevertheless, it is possible to make healthy, proactive New Year’s resolutions that you can stick to. Here’s how…
Be realistic and specific about the goals you want to achieve. For example, if you’d like to lose weight, “to lose weight” is far too general a resolution. Instead, set yourself an achievable weight-loss goal. If you want to quit smoking, be sure that you’re really committed to it and you have a plan – are you going to use nicotine patches, join a quit smoking group, seek help from your doctor? You get the idea.
I would also recommend that you be realistic in the number of resolutions you set yourself. Trying to incorporate a barrage of life changes is unlikely to work. So, limit yourself to a handful or even just one resolution! As long as you fulfill that resolution successfully, it’s much more valuable than the fifty you were nowhere near achieving last year.
Keep Reminders Visible
Write your goal or goals down and place them somewhere that you’ll see them regularly. Also, track your progress – whether it’s how many days you’ve been without cigarettes, chocolate, coffee or how much weight you’ve lost.
By having it somewhere visible it also allows friends and family members to keep an eye on how you’re doing. They’ll be able to encourage you and you’ll be less likely to lapse if you have the pressure of others watching you!
Get on the Case as Soon as Possible
Okay, so we’re already past New Year now, but it’s never too late to begin your resolution. As soon as you decide what you’re going to change, make decisive action immediately. Don’t say, “well, I’ll quit smoking tomorrow,” because procrastination is a vicious cycle.
Every time you hit a small milestone, and it’s a good idea to divide any resolution into smaller milestones, be sure to reward yourself. Obviously, make sure the reward is not counterintuitive to your resolution, though. In other words, once you’ve lost 5lbs, don’t treat yourself to a chocolate cake. Instead, think of an activity that you enjoy or a place you like to visit and arrange a date.
Most of all, remember that resolutions are about making permanent changes. Therefore, you have to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones. Once you’ve managed to make these good habits part of your daily routine, sticking to those resolutions becomes so much easier!