10 Hacks to help you keep your New Year's Resolutions
So does this sound like you? Every January you regurgitate the same old list of resolutions you made the previous year and by February you’ve already failed to keep them? For many of us the same aspirations we have one year seem to carry on to the next. The most common seem to be losing weight, sticking to a healthier diet, stopping smoking and exercising more frequently. The new year feels like a new beginning and so setting resolutions can present great opportunities to overcome struggles with willpower and determination. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:
I once met up with a friend on the 1st of January who, I kid you not, had just written out a list of 20 New Year’s Resolutions. In contrast, Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at Hertfordshire University, suggests that the best idea is to just pick one and focus all your energies on it. I personally think somewhere between the two is ideal,after all you want to give yourself a bit of a selection even if you just attack one at a time.
Another tip from Mr Wiseman is not to make the exact same resolutions every year. He says “If people have already tried and failed, their self-belief will be low.” However, it may be that the same problems you faced 12 months previously are still uppermost on your list of things you wish to change? In that case you could choose a new strategy and re-evaluate what went wrong before you work out your improvements.
It could be said that many of us disclose too much of our lives on social media with the minutiae of everyday life posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. However, in certain instances, for example, a resolution to lose weight or become fitter, circulating photographic updates of how you are progressing may well be inspirational not just to you but to others trying to do the same thing. Or you may be more comfortable just telling people close to you and in fact, that can be beneficial as a backup during moments of weakness. For example, if you are trying to stop smoking, when out for an evening with friends if they know you are trying to stop, they will remind you if you forget your resolution and reach for a cigarette. Also, their asking you what progress you are making can be a great incentive.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is in setting goals that are too unrealistic. It’s important, to be honest with yourself. Also, you should avoid making your resolution too general, better to give yourself something specific to strive for. Try adding a detailed plan and remember to keep it attainable, that way the resolution will be far easier to stick to.
A good way to be specific about how to achieve your resolution is to make a timeline. For example, if you want to lose weight, set yourself targets. How much would you like to lose and by when? Or how much do you need to save each month to meet your financial goal? Being very specific helps you track progress and set incremental next steps. Write down deadlines and goals in a plan or calendar.
It’s likely that you’ll occasionally fail in the pursuit of your resolutions but don’t let a couple of setbacks discourage you too much., especially not so much that you give up. Every misstep is an opportunity to learn and improve for the future. Forgiving yourself for failures and being realistic with goal-setting are ways to be kind to yourself with resolutions. The occasional treat when you do succeed or reach a milestone won’t hurt either.
Usually the shorter the time frame we give for our goals, the more likely we are to achieve them. So if you’re looking to stop drinking, tell yourself, “I won’t drink this week” and you’ll be more likely to achieve that goal than if you say, “I won’t drink all month”. Better to then break the period up into 4 weekly victories rather than wait the 31 days which initially may be too daunting of a task.
Monitor Your Progress
This is pretty crucial as it will make you more aware of the results from your efforts. Note down what you’ve done and how you’re keeping up with your objectives. When you feel tired or dispirited, re-read your note from when you first started and see how far you’ve come. Recognising your own hard work and achievements is important to keep you going.
Make it fun
Rather than focusing on all of the things you’d like to stop doing or change, why not take a look at what you’d like to add to your life in 2022? This may include trying out new hobbies and learning new skills. Think about activities you enjoy and maybe some that you have always wanted to try.
It’s good to congratulate yourself when you’ve made it through to the end of the month. As mentioned earlier many resolutions have already fallen foul by February so its good to reward yourself to keep up the motivation. If you’ve gone without cigarettes perhaps think of buying something for yourself with the money you’ve saved or if you’ve lost weight have a cheat day.
Good Luck ! Onward and Upwards!