How to Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions
Make a Specific Goal
Every year, millions of people resolve to "lose weight" or "get in shape" during the next year. Instead of selecting such an ambiguous goal, focus on something more concrete that you can realistically set your sights on, such as losing X kgs or fitting into a certain item of clothing.
Pick Just One Resolution
While you might have a long list of potential New Year's Resolutions, consider focusing on one main objective rather than spreading yourself too thin among a number of different goals. Taking on too much all at once can be daunting. It can be particularly difficult too because establishing new behavioral patterns takes time. Focusing your efforts on one specific goal makes keeping a resolution much more achievable.
Work Out a Plan
Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal. Experts suggest that you should spend some time thinking about how you will tackle a major behavior change. Why is this stage so critical for success? For one thing, it allows you to consider what tactics you will use when you are faced with barriers to success. When things get difficult, what strategies will you use to stay on the path toward success?
You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and the difficulties you might face, you'll be better prepared to stick to your resolution and overcome potential struggles.
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 behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.
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 people think they can do it they probably can, but if they've already tried and failed, their self-belief will be low.
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.
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 commitment to changing a behavior, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.
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. Having a solid support system 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.
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 behavior, making this change might seem all too easy.
After dealing with the some of the harder realities of your goal, there is usually some degree of weakening of will. When you face such moments, remind yourself of exactly why you are doing this. What do you have to gain by achieving your goal? Find sources of inspiration that will keep you going when times get tough.
Don't Let Small Stumbles Bring You Down
Encountering a setback 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. The path toward your goal is not a straight one, and there are always going to be challenges. Instead, view relapses as learning opportunities.
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.