Stick To Your New Years Resolutions
January is officially here and with that comes the tradition of making resolutions and goals to attempt for the coming year. Be it one goal or twenty, you have set them down and now all you have to do is stick to them…but will you?
It is a well-known fact that the majority of resolutions will be broken before January 1st is over, and by the end of the month most have been crumpled up and completely forgotten about. It is easy to lose heart and feel discouraged if you do not stick to your goals in the first few days of January, in fact many people do not even bother to make a New Years resolution so they can avoid this disappointment!
You can stick to your goals though, you can achieve them and by the end of the year, you will be able to look back with a sense of accomplishment and face the next year with even more gusto in creating and achieving your next set of goals!
1. Go monthly!
Did you know it takes 21 days for a behavior to become a habit? Therefore, if you can stick to one thing for 21 consecutive days it will become a part of your natural pattern and you will be continuing with it without even realizing! So get yourself a calendar (paper, digital, print out, or just draw 31 squares on a page) and mark off each day you complete the intended goal – you’ll be surprised how addictive it is crossing each day off!
Do not try and tackle your whole list at once. Instead, pick one or two each month and focus on them, yes, even your fitness related goals! Take each goal a month at a time. Do you have a goal you think could be accomplished in less than a month? Then give it its own week, and work at it for just that week. You’ll achieve more this way and it will give you something new to look forward to achieving each month! You also will not feel so overwhelmed at the start of the year thinking you have a zillion goals to instantly start working towards.
2. Keep a goal related journal!
Get into the habit of keeping a record of your goals, handwritten or digital be sure to carve out a little time each day to write down a few thoughts on how things went that day regarding the goal in question. Did you squeeze in that 30minute walk at lunch and see something really interesting on your travels? Noticed it is a lot easier to get up those flights of stairs or how clear your skin is looking now you’re drinking more water each day? Even if your thoughts are not positive, making a note of all these thoughts is a great way to remind you of what you are trying to achieve and reading back on the days things went really well can push you to go further and try harder to recreate those awesome feelings.
3. Go public!
Think keeping your goals to yourself is a good idea? Wrong! You are more likely to back out of a goal if nobody else knows about it – if nobody knows, nobody can comment on your lack of achievement accept yourself. We are living in a time when social networking and putting your lives out there for all to see – and comment on, is commonplace. If you tell others about your goal you feel obligated to see it through. Nobody wants to be seen as a failure in front of others. Sharing our goals holds us accountable for achieving them. Lost those first 5 pounds? Throw up a Facebook status or a tweet. Start a blog following your goal journey and make those posts public too. Can you now fit two people inside your old pants? Take a picture and share it! Take your friends and family on this journey, talk about how it is going, let them know it is OK to ask you about your goals too. You will get such a buzz when friends and family ‘like’ your achievements or ask how things are going.
What if you start to fall behind? Do not keep it to yourself – tell someone! Your friends and family can be your best supporters if you let them in on what is going on! Sign up to a forum related to your goal and let them in on it too, the good, the bad and the ugly. The beauty of forums is you are still telling others about your goal but there is still a sense of being anonymous too. You will get a real push to plough on when things are getting tough with a few words of encouragement from those around you.
4. It's not going to happen overnight!
There is a reason why we set our goals at the start of the year (or month) – it is so we have time to achieve them. Guess what? Some things will take a lot longer to achieve, 9 times out of 10 it will be several months or weeks before you see visible results, especially concerning your fitness / weight loss goals. Know this and accept it. Know that you are moving forward and even if you can’t see the results just yet, they are coming and the longer your can stick with your goal the more likely you are to finally see those results. If you start to feel disheartened, remind yourself why you are doing it. Read over the more positive entries in your goal journal or the encouraging feedback from friends and family. Think positive and carry on!
5. Set milestones - and CELEBRATE them!
Did you succeed in writing a hub article every day for a month? Did you complete NaNoWriMo on time? Fit into that 2 sizes too small swimsuit by the start of summer? Do not just give yourself a quiet pat on the back – celebrate in style! Treat yourself to something – maybe even consider setting up a wish list on Amazon and purchasing something from it each time you complete a goal or reach a milestone. Taking part in a financial challenge? e.g. saving a set amount over a month? Put some of that money to good use by treating yourself, even if it is buying a fancier lunch over your regular bagged lunch one day, or having a professional manicure or an extra beer at the weekend. Reward yourself, you have worked hard and you have earned it!
6. Oh no! I slipped up!
Let’s be honest, if your goal is to eat healthier but your friends take you out for an all you can eat buffet, chances are you might over do it just a little. Sure, there are many great ways to stay healthy at a buffet, but when I want that extra plate of chicken wings or another slice of cake I am going to be very very tempted, and probably give in. It is a one off not an everyday occurrence, I’ve managed to stick to my goal the days before this and my goal will carry right back on the following days afterwards. Do not punish yourself for slipping up, or allow yourself to feel as if you have spoilt all your hard work and the goal is dead in the water. The goal is not dead! The goal can continue and so can you! So you missed that one day of publishing an article because you really wanted to watch the latest episode of Breaking Bad, or you missed your gym session because your mum invited you around for a cup of tea. It is not over until it is over – when your goal is achieved! Pick yourself up the next day and continue. The world will not end because you had a double scoop of ice cream after lunch!
Whatever your goals and resolutions are this year, you can ACHIEVE them! With a little hard work, some forward planning and determination, you can turn those dreams into a reality. Break them down, spread them out, reward yourself often and most importantly – enjoy yourself. Have fun with whatever it is you have set out to achieve. You should feel proud of yourself for having got this far and created your list of goals, you’ve set the wheels in motion, now all you have to do is go along for the ride.
Have you made any resolutions this year?
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