For the most part, people have great intentions when it comes to New Years resolutions. Why then have we all seen people (including ourselves) fall short on our goals and dreams for the New Year? More importantly, what do we need to do to actually stick to our resolutions?
1. Keep your resolutions simple. Sometimes people try to redesign their entire life, this is simply a recipe for disappointment and guilt. It may be understandable to be inspired, but "biting off more than you can chew" can lead to failure. The best approach is to focus clearly on one or two of your most important goals.
2. Choose carefully. But which to choose? Well, you might like to concentrate on those that will have the greatest impact on your happiness, health and fulfilment.
3. Be realistic. Don’t aim too high and ignore reality – consider your previous experience with resolutions. What led to failure then? If you don’t want to hold back, set clear short-term goals on your way to a big achievement. Which leads to tip number four.
4. Create bite-sized portions. Break goals down to manageable chunks. This is perhaps the most essential ingredient for success, as the more planning you do now, the more likely you are to get there in the end.
5. Plan a time-frame. In fact, the time-frame is vital for motivation. It is your barometer for success, the way you assess your short-term progress towards the ultimate long-term goal. Buy a calendar or diary so you can plan your actions for the coming weeks or months, and decide when and how often to evaluate.
6. Make notes. Having made a note of your time-frame, you will have a physical reminder of what you’re aiming for. Now go further and write down the details of your resolutions in a notebook, remembering to add your motivations. You could keep a scrapbook for this purpose, and fill it with photos of your slimmer self, pictures of sporting or hobby equipment you are saving for, or even a shocking credit card statement to spur you into action! If your resolution will directly benefit your partner, children, colleagues or friends then add their photos too – anything to remind you of your initial motivation.
7. Treat yourself. When making your plan, a vital feature should be the rewards and treats you will give yourself at those all-important milestones. But be warned, don’t fall into the trap of putting your goal in danger – it’s too easy for a dieter to say “I’ve been so good, I deserve a few candy bars”, or a saver to throw caution to the wind with a new purchase. One slip, and it could all be over.
8. Receive support. It is at such times, when you’ve temporarily fallen off the wagon, that your support network is crucial. Carefully choose those people around you who have shown themselves to be trustworthy, supportive friends and explain your plans. Let them know of ways they can help when the going gets tough, and if they’re truly caring they’ll know the right things to say during the hard times.
9. Don’t give up! Do bear in mind that a slip-up is almost inevitable at some point, and you must not let this become an excuse to give up. When it happens, you will need to draw on your reserves of self-belief and strength, so build these qualities as often as you can. Really feel proud of your past achievements and don’t become critical of yourself. People with higher self-esteem and confidence are in a much better position to succeed, so immediately forgive yourself and say “I’m starting again now!”
10. Put yourself in charge. These achievements are under your control – other people can advise and support you but it’s your actions which need to change to see the results you want. Having a strong sense of control over your life is necessary to stick with your plans. Those who blame everyone and everything apart from themselves will not have the resources needed to change. Yes, it’s scary to take responsibility for your future, but surely it’s better than the alternative?
Need a little extra help? Talk to our Personal Trainers (Andy, John, Mandy or Rich) about goal setting. Working with other people holds you accountable and helps you achieve your goals.
Source: Article adapted from Psych Central