The ancient Babylonians were said to have been some of the first to make new New Year Resolutions some 4000 years ago. It's a practice many of us choose to undertake today. So often, we fail and it can be a source of great frustration.
It is very important to remember that the New Year is not the only time you can make resolutions. In fact, in many ways it may not always be the easiest or most practical time to start your new plan. So my first tip would be to choose your time carefully.
I would go further and suggest to you that the best New Year's Resolution you can make is to make the year ahead a YEAR of resolutions. Make goal setting a daily event. Find a way to wake each day with a positive, goal led attitude.
Whatever time you choose to start making resolutions and goals, how can you make better, more sustainable resolutions?
Resolving to change something big at a day's notice may not be the best idea. Give yourself time to think through the practicalities.
Is your goal realistic? If not, you may be setting yourself up to fail. The best outcomes are what I would call "well-formed outcomes" where you have thought through every aspect of the task ahead. Many would refer to goals using the mnemonic SMART. Is your goal :
Pros and Cons
Sometimes it's good to get a list on paper. Maybe ask others to help with this. They may see things you haven't thought about.
How will you deal with challenges?
In your plan, consider the pitfalls, the temptations and the challenges you may face. What will you do to remind yourself not to give in to temptation? You might call a friend, you might meditate, or engage in self-talk to remind you of your goal. I used to carry a notebook around with all the reasons to stop smoking in it. I would look at it when I was feeling at a low ebb. 10 years and counting....
Keep a note of your progress
Well formed outcomes need to have a way of measuring progress and achievement. So keep a note of your progress. Smartphone Apps may help with this - for example, health, fitness or diet apps. Focus on smaller goals - for example, if you want to lose 3 stone in weight, break that down into half stone mini targets.
Stick to it
It may seem difficult to keep to your promises in the short term, but it will get easier. They say it takes around 21 days for a new activity to become a habit, and about 6 months for it to become part of your personality. So, don't despair - stick to your guns!
Celebrate your successes with something you enjoy that doesn't contradict your resolution. It is important to acknowledge how well you're doing, and treat yourself.
Don't beat yourself up
The occasional slip is likely to happen. Don't be too hard on yourself. Take each day at a time and get back on the horse if you get thrown from it. Tomorrow is a new day.
There is no such thing as failure. If it goes wrong, what did you learn so that you'll be a success next time? How about you recommit for just 24 hours and see how you go?
Talk to someone
I would reccomend employing the services of a coach. Their business is about helping you set and reach your goals. They will keep you on track and hold you to account in a way that friends and family never could. A coach is an investment in your success, and the outcomes they will help you achieve should pay dividends.
Coaching is something I have a lot of practical experience of. So, why not book a free consultation with me and find out how I can help you? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!
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