NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
It's that time of year again. We all start reflecting on the year that's been and how the time has flown. We think about all the things we have managed to achieve and wasted opportunities that have passed us by. Naturally, most of us have a tendency to focus on the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of the year that we somehow never got round to doing. How we never quite plucked up the confidence to go for that new job, we still haven't become any more organised, we didn't stick to that diet, relaxing and unwinding properly at the end of a hard day is still eluding us, we‘re still carrying around that extra weight that we were definitely going to lose, still no fitter than we were this time last year etc, etc. So, this year it's going to be different, I'm going to make my New Year's Resolutions and stick to them!
Easier said than done, right? So, what's the secret to making and keeping New Year's Resolutions? There are a few simple rules that, if you follow, will mean you should be more successful in 2017.
1) Set realistic goals
A New Year's Resolution is quite simple a goal you set yourself. Too many of us have grand ideas at the start of the year. 'I'm going to lose 5 stone this year', 'I'm going to quit drinking', 'I'm going to run a marathon'. Goals are a fantastic way of focusing your mind and prioritising what it is you really want to achieve. The problem occurs when we set goals that are so big and grand that it easily and quickly overwhelms us with the magnitude of the task. In order to stop this happening you want to break the Resolution into bite size chunks. Your long term goal may be to lose 5 stone but you need to set yourself short and medium term goals that you will achieve quicker and will still, ultimately, take you towards that main goal.
2) Create good habits
We are all very good at creating habits. That hard earned glass of wine at the end of the day, the bar of chocolate with a movie, staying up until 1.30am watching box sets on Netflix, those 3 biscuits with your 11 o’clock cuppa and the list goes on. These are examples of things that we build into our everyday lives until we don’t even really think about them anymore. It’s just what we do and normally they are things that, from a health point of view, don’t really do us any favours. To achieve your New Year’s resolutions, you need to make your goal an everyday part of your life and your routine. It needs to become a habit. Once it becomes a habit it is a lot harder to break and feels a lot less of a chore.
3) Remember - everyday is a new day
Don’t let one or two bad days mean the end to all the hard work and effort you have put in up until that point. We all have bad days when we are lacking in motivation or we slip back into old, bad habits or temptation gets the better of us but, what we must not do, is allow that one day to turn into a whole week! All too often, we take the attitude that, one day of not following our new plan of action means that the whole week is a write off and we may as well start again from Monday. This just then becomes a downward spiral, we feel bad/guilty that we let it slip, which causes us to feel demotivated and makes starting again on Monday all that much harder, which ultimately leads to us thinking there is no point at all. Everyday is a new day. So what if yesterday didn't exactly go to plan, today I get the chance to try again and I haven’t set myself back a whole week/month/year!
4) Get the right help, support and motivation
We all need help at some point or another. Whether this is right at the start to get you on the right track and help you map out the path you want to follow to reach that goal or a couple of months down the line when the shine and exuberance has worn off and it’s starting to feel like a bit of a slog. Getting the right people around you to help you through those times is really important. This may be family and friends, who understand what it is you are trying to achieve and are there to give you moral support. Or perhaps it’s a group of like minded people who are aiming at the same thing you are. Or a professional who can give you the benefit of their knowledge and experience. Or, if you can, you put together a network of all of these people to give you the strongest possible