Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to “stick to your resolutions”? The following are some tips to help you do just that:
The Right Kind of Goals
Be sure to set obtainable resolutions. Productivity expert Brian Moran says that 92% of us start out the New Year with a sizzle, only to fizzle when it comes to keeping our resolutions. “Some resolutions are just too big a leap, requiring just too much willpower and effort to keep it going” says Moran. So instead of making a resolution to instantly become a Vegan after a lifetime of eating meat, you would be better off resolving to cut back on the red meat or substituting it with chicken or fish.
12 Weeks not 365 Days
Try breaking up your goals into manageable blocks of time. Instead of giving yourself 365 days to accomplish your goal of losing 40 pounds, set a goal of 10 pounds in 3 months. After the 3 months (you have of course lost that 10 pounds) set a goal for the next 3 months of losing 10 pounds. Doing this will keep the pressure on. Giving yourself a whole year to do something makes it too easy to keep putting it off until the end of the year… and you are left with another resolution that went uncompleted.
One Thing at a Time
You didn’t accumulate all of those undesirable behaviors overnight, so don’t expect to be able to change them overnight. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
Spread the Word
Tell other people about your goals. This can be helpful in many ways… First, if your friends know what you are trying to accomplish, they are less likely to tempt you with whatever it is you are trying to avoid. If you have resolved to cut out alcohol, chances are your friends won’t ask you out to the bar to get drunk if they know you are trying to quit drinking. Secondly, announcing your resolutions adds a bit of pressure to your endeavor. Besides being a great source of support, you will feel a sense of obligation not to let your friends down.
Avidan Milevsky, Professor of Psychology, suggests that you start with a ceremony. “kick off your resolution with a bang. Often, resolutions begin and end with an idea. The goal is to launch the idea into action. Getting started requires a push which then can be maintained with the tips noted above. Kick-start your resolution with some type of event or ceremony. For example, if the resolution is about relationship building, maybe use some old family photos in some creative ceremony to trigger the reconnection.”
Scranton University psychology professor John Norcross says “When setting targets, use the SMART acronym: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific. Norcross goes on to say that you have to do more than just say, “I want to lose weight.” “Specifically, what are you going to do so that you can measure and track [your weight] over time, for say, the next three to four months?”
Sticking to New Year’s resolutions is not a simple task. But you know have some tips to help you make it through the tough times… and there will be tough times, just don’t give up. Accept the fact that it is not going to be easy, and you will likely have some setbacks, but stick with it and when the end of the year rolls around you will be able to look back on the previous year with a sense of accomplishment!