10 Top Tips for Keeping Your New Year Resolutions

It’s the time of year when many of us make resolutions. A New Year seems like a great time to make a fresh start and to change our habits. But we’ve all made resolutions and then ended breaking them. However, if you can resolve to improve your health and stick to it, then the chances are your whole year will be better.

Keeping resolutions is not as hard as you might think. There are simple things that you can do that will improve your chances of success.  Actually making a resolution is a good start. According to a study, those who make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to actually change their behaviour than people who don’t.

Here are 10 tips to make sure that this is the year you keep your resolutions:

1.  Be Realistic and Specific

If you resolve to change your whole lifestyle and have a long list of resolutions, it is very much more likely that you will fail. It is better to have a small number of resolutions, or even just one. Think carefully and choose the resolution that will have the greatest impact on your happiness and health, which will also provide the greatest sense of achievement.

And ensure that resolutions that you do make are realistic. Having vague resolutions of ‘losing weight’ or ‘getting fit will quickly be broken. Specific, realistic goals such as losing 10 pounds, or training for a 5-mile charity run will give you something to aim for. Trying to do too much will all at once will almost certainly lead to failure. We need to remember that establishing new behavioural patterns takes time. Remember that achieving even small goals can boost your self-belief.

2. Have a Plan

If you were undertaking a major project at work, you would not proceed without a plan. Making a major behaviour change needs just as much thought and planning. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve. Take some time before to consider how you are going to achieve our goals and consider any problems you might encounter and how you would deal with them. How will you deal with temptation, or the days that you don’t want to go to the gym?

3. Start Small

Trying to do everything at once is one of the main reason’s resolutions fail. Break goals down to manageable chunks and take small steps at first. If you have resolved to run a marathon, start out by going for a jog two or three times a week. Eating more healthily can begin with replacing one or two of your favourite junk foods with healthier options. It may take longer to get to your goal, but you are much more likely to stick to this.

4. Don’t Give Up

Slip-ups are inevitable, but relapsing into an old habit doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. Set-backs can be learning opportunities, allowing you to plan to avoid it next time. There will always be challenges and times when things don’t go as you would want them to, but don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t let this become an excuse to give up. Instead of focussing on what went wrong, think of what you have achieved so far and tell yourself that you are starting again now

5. Remember That Change Is a Process

It probably took you years to develop the habits that you are trying to get rid of, so it is unrealistic to think you can change them in a few days or even weeks or months. It is probably going to take longer than you would like to achieve your goals; it takes around 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Changing your behaviour is something that you will continue to improve on for years and years to come.

6. Get Help and Support

Tell friends and family about your resolutions and enlist their support and help in achieving your objectives. Having a good support system will keep you motivated. Ideally find someone who shares your New Year’s Resolution, or something similar and form a buddy system to support each other. Or, you can join a group, such as a running club, that shares your goal.

7. Track How You Are Progressing

Ensure you are keeping track of each accomplishment, as these will keep you motivated. We know that short-term goals are easier to keep. If we think about losing the first five pounds, rather than focusing on the 30 pounds loss that may be our ultimate goal, it will help to stay on track. Assessing short term progress against a long-term goal reminds us that we are succeeding.

8. Give Yourself A Reward

You have planned carefully to keep your Resolution and part of that planning should be to put in place rewards and treats that you give yourself when you reach an important milestone. But make the rewards appropriate. Don’t eat an entire box of chocolates because you have you have manged to eat healthily for a month. A little is ok, but you could perhaps reward yourself with trip to the cinema or some new clothes.

9. Keep Trying

New Year’s resolutions are easy to make and may be easy to keep for a few days or even weeks. But if by the end of February, you have totally run out of motivation, remind yourself why you are doing this and find sources of inspiration to keep you going. If all else fails, start over again. Tell yourself that you are going to recommit to your resolution for just 24 hours, which is fairly easy. And then do that again. A few of these will build on each other and you will soon be back on track.

10. Realise That You are in Control

Remember that all of this is in your power. If you have planned your resolutions carefully, then they are achievable. You have friends to help and support you, but it will ultimately be you and what you do that will achieve the results you want. These achievements are under your control – other people can advise and support you but it’s your actions which need to change to see the results you want.

It may not be easy, but it is something you can do and achieving your goals is definitely worth the time and effort it will take. Good luck!

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