“Did you know that 92% of new year resolutions fail? Here’s how you can be a part of the 8% that don’t!”
A new year marks a new beginning – to start again, plan again, and try again. The start of a new year is a great time to decide to get more exercise, work less, pay down debt, eat better, lose weight, quit smoking, learn more, and do everything you promised yourself, but shunned it away due a valid (or plain lazy) reason!
The end of December is a time to think about what you want to accomplish or improve in the coming year, and which good intentions are left over from last year. The trick with resolutions is finding ways to stick to them, to make good on your intentions after the January fanfare fades. And so, we have put together a list of tips and tricks that will help you make perfect new year resolutions, and, more importantly, stick to them:
Set meaningful goals and plan ahead on how to achieve them
Take time to set new year resolutions and goals that truly matter to you – and don’t copy paste your friend’s or neighbour’s resolutions. Take your time to ponder and pen down what is it that you truly desire – that’s the first step in ensuring that you achieve everything you desire. Once you know this, sketch a plan on how you can achieve it – with milestones and a timeline. And, regularly monitor your progress.
Change new year resolutions to choices and solutions
Think of your new year resolutions as a “life-style choice.” This means, for example, rather than only resolving to pay off your debts, decide to live within your means – permanently. Resolutions have a much shorter shelf-life than habits and decisions. To be successful, make your goals a way of life.
Set SMART goals
Being successful becomes its own motivation, so set yourself up for success with SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. SMART goal-setting means identifying a specific goal, deciding how much from each pay cheque needs to be set aside towards that goal, choosing a goal that fits the overall household budget and financial priorities you have, and setting a timeline in which you will achieve the goal.
Write down your goals
Once you have decided on your achievable resolutions, write them down. You could even make a contract with yourself stating what you will set out to do and sign it to make it official. Writing down the resolutions creates a greater connection between your thinking self and your doing self and makes the resolution appear more real than if you simply think it in your head.
Replace habits, don’t try to eliminate them
Understand that habits need to be replaced by new behaviours. If you have a habit of eating junk food outside, that habit can’t just go away. It needs to be replaced by making your own meals at home. Plan your meals so that they are home-cooked. Incorporate the requirements in your lifestyle – for example, buy groceries regularly, and allocate time daily to make food. Schedule your day accordingly. Decide what you need to do to break a habit, and then do it.
Break your new year resolutions to smaller, achievable tasks
Decide what you must do each week to reach your goal. If you want to save Rs. 1 lakh by November to take a trip, this actually means that you must save Rs. 10,000 each month from your earnings towards the trip expenses. To come up with Rs. 10,000 extra each month, you need to either earn more or spend less.
Use positive language rather than negative demands when thinking about doing your resolution
For example, rather than thinking “I can’t be bothered going to the gym”, think “I always feel so much better for going to the gym and I love that feeling.” Highlighting the benefit to you is far more motivating than focusing on the negatives and self-deprecation for not doing it as expected.
Get a ‘resolution buddy’
Tell a friend or your loved ones whom you trust about your resolution. They will provide you with support and keep you focused on your goal. And if you are wavering at all, their support will ensure you don’t give up, just in case you feel like a quitter. You can also consider joining an online support group for specific resolutions such as losing weight, giving up chocolate, or training for the next marathon. Having people you can talk to at any time of day or night can be an enormous source of instant support, especially if the people are going through the same experiences and concerns as you. In turn, be sure to help boost other people’s resolutions!
Review your progress periodically
Break your resolution down into stages so you can track your progress. Look back after a couple of months and see what you’re doing right. Try to fix anything that you’re doing wrong. For instance, if your resolution was to go to the gym three evenings a week, perhaps you haven’t been sticking to it because you always work late. Try going in the mornings instead. Making a minor adjustment could be the key to success.
Help yourself to stay focused on your goal
To remind yourself about your goal, associate it with something you do every day, like brushing your teeth. Hang a picture on your mirror, change the wallpaper on your phone or laptop, set a task reminder in your calendar, put a sticker on your debit or credit card. Focusing on a goal and reminding yourself why you want to make choices that get you closer to achieving your goal will help you stay on track and be successful!
Remember to celebrate your successes, but make sure the way you celebrate doesn’t go against your resolution. If you cut down on drinking alcohol, clearly it’s best not to reward yourself with a glass of wine. Instead, treat yourself to those shoes you’ve had your eye on, or tickets to a play you’ve been dying to see. You deserve it!
Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending!
So, what’s your new year resolution going to be?
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