We both know that you’re not going to stick to your New Year’s resolution.
We know that because you never stick to it. No one does.
New Year’s resolutions generally amount to nothing more than flare ups in our self-improvement efforts, which generally tend to fizzle out come the end of January after most of us has worked off the guilt that we accrued over the festive season.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This time around you can actually achieve your goals by taking some simple pieces of advice on board.
Break down your plan into its smallest components
When you look at your resolution as a whole, it can seem gargantuan — and if a task seems insurmountable it’s only a matter of time before you give up.
That’s why you have to break down that resolution (such as losing a certain amount of weight) into its smallest parts and deal with each individually (buy new sports wear, run for 60 mins a day, remove sweets from the house, etc).
Deal with one goal at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself. Once you see the ease of your plan at this level you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
Manage your time well
If you’re hoping to affect a major change in your life then that has to be reflected in your daily schedule.
How much time does your resolution require from your routine? How does that affect what your week look like? Do you need to wake up earlier to make this work?
If you don’t factor this in during your planning stage, then you’re admitting to yourself that you don’t plan to follow through.
Find some support
If someone else in your life is willing to get take on the same resolution as you then you can both face this challenge together.
This support system will be invaluable in those moments when you’re struggling to carry on as neither of you will want to let the other down.
Maybe even challenge them to a friendly wager in order to help each other reach your goals, using people’s innate aversion to losing as an added form of motivation. Nothing crazy, maybe the loser just buys the winner lunch if they’ve made more progress at the end of each month.
Commit to your goals in advance
Enough temptation will eventually wear down willpower, so make life easier for yourself by removing temptation from the equation wherever possible.
Is your weakness for midweek takeaways holding back your health goals? Prepare healthy meals the weekend before. Having trouble saving money? Schedule a bank transfer to your saving account every payday. Are you distracted by social media when studying? Do it somewhere without wi-fi.
A little forward thinking can save you a lot of hassle.
Chart your progress
Having a visual representation of what you’ve managed to achieve will make your progress seem more real to you.
Find a way to measure you goals — like the account of money you’ve save or how much weight you’ve lost — and jot them down at regular intervals.
Being able to see the difference from where you were at the start of your journey versus a few months down the line will remind you that all your hard work is actually paying off, giving you a hit of satisfaction.
Focus on the positives, not the negatives
You know how we said make a plan and stick to it? You’re not going to do that — not all the time anyway — and when you don’t stick to the plan, you’ll feel bad about yourself. When you feel bad about yourself, you’ll start to doubt that it’s even possible to achieve your goal and so you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel.
Do not give in to that temptation.
As any truly successful individual can tell you, failure is just a stepping stone in the path to success. Focus on the things that you have achieved and what you will achieve, not on what you’ve failed to do.
Keep yourself motivated
Motivation, like any energy source, becomes depleted over time and so must be replenished.
You need to remind yourself why choose this resolution in the first place. Why did you sign up to that evening course? To get that promotion. Why did you decide to run 10km every day? To be fit enough to complete a marathon. Why did you want to save a quarter of your monthly pay? To travel the world.
Visual reminders can help with this, like placing pictures of your heart’s desire around your bedroom — because if you don’t lose sight of the goal you won’t stop chasing it.
Allow yourself a treat
You can’t just deny yourself the things you desire indefinitely, it’s unsustainable, but you can keep them as a reward for sticking to your plan.
By allowing yourself a treat upon achieving important goals you positively reinforce the sense of satisfaction you get by sticking to your resolution, making you want to keep getting that feeling.
Don’t overdo it on the treats, of course, but allowing yourself a little indulgence is more likely to help you stay on the straight and narrow path to your ultimate goal.