Let's go! How to make resolutions work
It might sometimes feel like your resolutions are just there to be broken! But deciding to ditch bad habits and replace them with positive ones is always an excellent idea - and one you should persevere with.
The problem is not so much that we don't have the determination to stick to our resolutions; it's more that we should choose resolutions that are achievable. If not, it's as if we're setting ourselves up to fail.
For the best chance of succeeding in your goals, try these tips for making resolutions that work:
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1. Don't aim too high
The first secret of success is to pick a single goal rather than several. Consider whether it's one that you can realistically achieve - do you have the time and commitment to stick with it? If you resolve to give up chocolate completely, consider how long you'll be able to persevere. You're much more likely to achieve your goal if your resolution is to limit your treat to just one bar a week.
2. Make your resolutions specific
Saving money is an excellent idea. But you're more likely to stay focussed if you plan where you'll trim your budget and by how much. For example, take a packed lunch rather than buy a sandwich and coffee every day, and bank the savings you make. Setting small, well-defined goal makes it much easier to stay on track.
3. Write down your goals
Writing down your resolutions makes you feel more accountable and gives you a much better chance of achieving your goals. Keeping a diary or journal can also help you to reflect and spot any patterns of behaviour that might be jeopardising your success.
4. Talk about your resolutions
Going public about your New Year's resolutions makes it harder to backtrack. Talk to others about your goals and ask them to check in regularly to see how you're getting on. Even better, find a friend who has made the same resolution and support one another.
5. Reassess your goals regularly
Pause frequently throughout the year to reevaluate your goals. If you decide that you're unlikely to achieve your aims, feel free to give them a tweak or two so that they fit in better with your lifestyle. Share any changes you make with friends and family so that they can continue to support you.
6. Recognise small wins
Don't focus solely on reaching the finishing line but celebrate minor achievements along the way. If you resolve to lose 15 kilos, don't wait until you've met your target. Keep track of your progress in your journal and treat yourself after every kilo.
7. If you lapse, you're not alone!
Almost everyone who makes a New Year's resolution slips up from time to time. If this happens to you, don't let your lapse hold you back. It's how you deal with it that matters. Don't waste time feeling guilty and then give up. Acknowledge your setback, understand why it happened and work out how to stop yourself making the same mistake again. Then get back on track.
8. Stick with techniques that work
Once your new behaviour starts to feel "normal", there's a risk that you might let your guard slip. It's now that you're most vulnerable to backsliding. Suppose you haven't had a cigarette for three months. You might think that it's safe for you to have a night out with friends who smoke, But it was avoiding this social circle that allowed you to succeed in your resolution. Similarly, if keeping a food diary has been crucial to your weight loss success, don't stop at this point. Removing these techniques may undermine your resolve. If what you're doing is helpful, don't stop.
9. Believe in yourself and your abilities
If you're confident that you're capable of changing your behaviour, your self-belief will carry through to success. People sometimes say that they want to make a New year's resolution, but feel that they won't achieve it. But if you believe you can do something, you're more likely to do it.
A final thought
If you sometimes doubt yourself, don't give up. Instead, modify your resolutions to make them achievable. Rather than taking on a huge challenge, break down your resolution into smaller goals that you know you can attain. Bach Flower Mix 44 can also help: it contains pure Bach flower essences that can help self-confidence and support your self-belief.
When you've kept your resolutions and established new, healthy habits, it's the moment to celebrate! You should be proud of yourself! But don't give up on your resolutions now. Whether it's giving up smoking, eating healthily or exercising regularly, build on your goals and maintain your new, healthy lifestyle for the years ahead.
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