After a week (or even month) of indulgence because of Christmas, it’s no wonder so many of us are keen to make resolutions once the new year arrives. But how many people ACTUALLY stick with them?
I hadn’t made any resolutions for years, frankly I thought it was a load of crap and not worth doing but this last year I have had a change of heart. I realise now that there is actually something quite cathartic in it. However unlike when I used to set resolutions previously, I don’t look at all of the things I hate about myself or my life, I simply reflect on the last twelve months, what I am proud of and what I wish to improve on.
And that would be my first pointer;
Reflect and Improve.
We keep a jar in our kitchen and have written a little note anytime something great has happened or something has made us happy and popped it in there with the intention of going through it on New Year’s Day. I totally recommend doing this. Anything that makes you happy can go in there whether it is clearing out the loft, starting a new hobby or getting a pay rise. If it makes you happy or proud then stick it in. We tend to only remember the crap stuff that happens over the year so this is a great way to reflect and remember.
Make Just ONE Resolution to Begin With.
Write down your resolutions and work out which one is the most important to you. Once you know, focus on that resolution first and the rest can follow throughout the year. Who says we only have to make changes in January anyway? By breaking it down and doing one at a time you make it more manageable. Deciding to change too much at once is too overwhelming and sets yourself up for failure.
Write Down Ways to Smash Your Resolutions.
Like anything in life, planning contributes to the success; whether it is a work project or your New Year’s resolutions. By deciding what your resolution is and then planning how you are going to successfully achieve it, you stand more chance of succeeding.
For example; If you are wanting to spend less, first start a diary of your spending to analyse where you spend unnecessarily and what purchases (like your daily coffee) you could cut out.
There are plenty of tips online on how to stick to resolutions depending on what yours is, so have a browse for some tips, write them down and keep them with you to refer to.
Set Smaller Targets.
Rather than saying ‘In 2018 I want to lose weight....’ set a more realistic and smaller goal. Giving yourself the whole year means you haven’t really set a milestone and you fall into the mindset of ‘I have plenty of time’. Got a friend’s birthday party in March? Make that date your weight loss target instead. Family visiting from abroad in the summer? Use that as the target date to do up the guest room. Make the targets realistic too, if you have a lot of weight to lose it will take time as will learning a new skill or hobby.
Don’t Tell Anyone.
Apparently by telling people our goals or ambitions our brain thinks we have already achieved them and subconsciously ‘files them away’, which is why when you tell people your goals or intentions such as, ‘I am planning on writing a book’, we experience a feeling of release as if we have already achieved it. By keeping your goals secret you are having to seek that feeling of achievement through actually doing it, which will spur you on to continue.
Don’t Get Hung Up on Failures.
The path to success with anything is not straight forward; there are plenty of slip ups and failures along the way. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve our goals whatever they may be so if you slip up or something doesn’t work out don’t give yourself a hard time. Accept it, learn from it and move on.
Finally, and - I think - most importantly is to believe in yourself. You are capable of achieving anything you put your mind to and the sooner you start telling yourself that and believing it the more chance you have of succeeding.
This post first appeared on my mental health and wellbeing blog - HEADCASE