A new year is like a fresh start, a sense of new hope connecting to your hearts desires, a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and establish new routines that will help you grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, physically or intellectually. Of course, resolutions are much easier to make than to keep and by the end of January many of us have abandoned our resolve and settled back into our old patterns. So how do we make them stick and more importantly…work? Here are a few tips from the pros ….

1. Choose a Specific, Realistic Goal.


Focus on something concrete and specific that you can realistically set your sights on. For example, you might commit to losing 10 pounds or running a mini-marathon. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal also gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to accomplish your goal over the course of the week, month, year etc.

2. Pick Just One Resolution


While you might have a long list of potential New Year’s Resolutions, pick just one and focus your energies on it rather than spreading yourself too thin among a number of different objectives. It keeps the mind focused and gives a strong sense of it being achievable.

3. Don’t Wait Until New Year’s Eve


Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal. Experts suggest that it’s really helpful to plan out how you will tackle any obstacles to support any major behaviour change. You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any typical things that might stand in your way is; Buy the runners before joining the gym, take the choccie biscuits out of the cupboard before the New Year, keep the diary free for yourself to have time to commit to the new routine in advance etc

4. Start with Small Steps


Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year’s Resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behaviour are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.

If you’ve resolved with going for a mini marathon start out by going for a 15 min jog two or three times a week. If you are trying to eat healthier, start by replacing some of your favourite junk foods with healthier options…you get the message. While it may seem like a slow start, these small changes make it easier to stick to your new habits and increase the likelihood of long-term success. Before you know it- you’re in a groove and there’s a routine created.

5. Avoid Repeating Past Failures


Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s Resolution is to not make the exact same resolution year after year. If you think you can do it you most probably can, but if they’ve already tried and failed, you’re self-belief will be low, so if you do choose to reach for the same goals you’ve tried for in the past, spend some time evaluating your previous results. Which strategies were the most effective? Which were the least effective? What has prevented you from keeping your resolution in past years? By changing your approach, you will be more likely to see real results this year.

6. Remember That Change Is a Process


Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months? It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish. Once you have made the decision to do it, it’s something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.

7. Don’t Let Small Stumbles Bring You Down


Encountering a setback or a blunder is one of the most common reasons why people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, don’t view it as a failure; keep focused on the end result. The path toward your goal is not a straight one and there are always going to be challenges. Instead, view relapses as learning opportunities to your weaknesses and little traps.

If you are keeping a resolution journal, write down important information about when the relapse occurred and what might have triggered it. By understanding the challenges you face, you will be better prepared to deal with them in the future.

8. Get Support from Your Friends and Family

Yes, you’ve probably heard this advice a million times, but that is because the buddy system actually works.  If you have a good support network- they can help you stay motivated. Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal.

9. Renew Your Motivation

During the first days of a New Year’s Resolution, you will probably feel confident and highly motivated to reach your goal. Because you haven’t really faced any discomfort or temptation associated with changing your behaviour, making this change might seem all too easy.

After dealing with the reality of dragging yourself to the gym at 6 A.M. or gritting your teeth through headaches brought on by nicotine withdrawal, your motivation to keep your New Year’s Resolution will probably start to dwindle. When you face such moments, remind yourself of exactly why you are doing this. What do you have to gain by achieving your goal; Write a list of positives, keep a vision board, promise yourself a treat for success after a short goal is achieved- like your first 5k jog, your first half stone, your first course assignment is handed in etc

10. Keep Working on Your Goals


By February, many people have lost that initial spark of motivation that they felt immediately after making their New Year’s Resolution. Keep that inspiration alive by continuing to work on your goals, even after facing setbacks. If your current approach is not working, re-evaluate your strategies and develop a new plan. Get to know yourself.

Consider keeping a resolution journal, where you can write about your successes and struggles. Write down the reasons why you are working toward your goal so that you can refer to them during times when you feel uninspired and unmotivated.  By sticking with it and working on your goal all year long, you can be one of the few able to say that you really did keep your New Year’s Resolution.


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