We often make vague and unspecific New Year’s resolutions, such as ‘I want to quit smoking’, or ‘I want to lose weight’. When we do this we are setting ourselves up to fail.
If you really want to stick to your New Year’s resolution, you need to clearly define it. Start by thinking about why you haven’t already achieved your resolution in the past. For example, if you want to lose weight, do you have a gym membership? Do you eat healthy foods? Try to remove any obvious barriers that will prevent you from achieving your goals.
Next, you need to think about why you want to achieve your goal. Thinking about how your emotional commitment to the goal will help motivate you. Again, make it specific. For example, if you want to lose weight, maybe it’s so you can fit into an old item of clothing you love.
Don’t just think about what you want to achieve, but plan out ways to achieve it. Select specific times in your week to regularly focus on your goal. Consider variables such as costs, and equipment. For example, if you are planning to quit smoking, are you going to use any quit-aid such as nicotine patches? How much will this cost you on a weekly basis? Write things downs and make lists, budgets, and schedules to ensure your resolution is attached to an actual plan and not just a desire.
Tracking your progress will allow you to see the difference your resolution has made to you and your life. This will allow you a sense of achievement which will encourage you to stay motivated. If you are tracking your progress you will also be able to see what is working and what isn’t, making it easier to make adjustments.
Telling your friends and family about your resolution may sound daunting, but if you want your resolve to be successful you will need the support of those closest to you. Having those around you know what you are going though, to support and encourage you, will significantly increase your chances of success.
Many people lose sight of their goals and resolutions with ‘all or nothing thinking’. It is easy to say, well I don’t have time for the gym today, so I’ll start my resolution again next week. Try to remember that any effort towards your goal is better than none. Even if you only have 20 minutes for the gym that week, it is better than not going at all.