How to Stick to your New Year Resolutions

2011-year-resolution-400x400You’ve done the easy part, you’ve made your New Year resolution, and in the heady throes of New Year’s Eve it all seemed so simple. Now the day has arrived to put those plans in action and you are already starting to wobble. That packet of ciggies on the table are calling you for one last smoke, the gym membership is still lying untouched, and your pact to save up for a holiday hasn’t seen one cent deposited.

But it’s not too late to pick up and carry on with your goals for the New Year, in fact, it’s important to realize that there will be times when you’ll have set backs.

You can achieve your resolutions, you just need the right tools. Below we’ve listed some ideas to help you on your way.

Think why you made the resolution

Having a goal is all very well and good, but when you start to stray from the path you have to remember what all the effort is for in the first place. So before you make the decision to either quit smoking, save for a holiday or go to the gym more often, make sure you understand the importance of why you are doing it.

If it’s smoking, did you have a health scare or warning from the doctor? Are you unhappy about ageing skin? If it’s a holiday, do you feel it is important for the whole family to get away this year, or do you want you as a couple to have some special alone time? As for the gym, is getting healthier a priority this year and why?

Having your reasons clear in your mind helps when you start having moments of weakness and doubts.

Get organized and pick a date

If you are going to give up smoking, pick a date to stop and stick to it. If you are going to start going to the gym, pick a day in the week and go. If you are saving up for a holiday, get organised and start a standing order for a certain amount each month to go into a savings account. The point is to start. Starting is the most difficult part of your resolution, because if you don’t start you can carry on convincing yourself you can start tomorrow, or the next day and you’ll put it off and before you know it is next year again.

Start small but DO SOMETHING

If you feel that your resolution is going to be too difficult to stop/start in one day, then start with small goals. So for smoking for instance, start cutting down on the amount you smoke. And when you fancy a cigarette, put it off for ten minutes, have a glass of water and see if you still want one. If your resolution is to exercise more often, or to stop drinking so much, start off with little steps.

Exercising can be started with something simple like walking instead of taking the bus, taking the stairs instead of the elevators, or doing a lap in the swimming pool after work one evening.

As for easing up on the drinking, try swapping a couple of alcoholic drinks for spring water and fruit juices when you are out. You’ll feel so much better in the morning and it may even become a healthy habit.

Don’t give up if you have a set back

There’s a reason why you have chosen this resolution so it must have been important to you at the time. Don’t let a few setbacks stop you from achieving your goal, because in the long run, it won’t matter if a year down the road you had a few cigarettes before you eventually quit for good, or think about when you’ve lost your target weight, no one will care that you missed a few weeks in the gym.

So concentrate on the end goal and what you want to achieve and realize that set backs are going to occur, it’s how you deal with them that really matters.


Picture credit: Corbis

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