New Year Resolutions

New Year Resolutions

As you may have noticed, we have entered into a new year as well as a completely new decade, where the last one went, well that I am afraid is anyone’s guess! As we start this year’s editions of articles, we thought that we would have a look at New Year’s Resolutions, and therefore focus on the year ahead and not on the ones just gone.

New Year’s Resolutions

So, hands up, who actually made a New Year’s Resolution this New Year?

We would imagine that a fair few people who read this will have in good faith made a New Year Resolution, and a fair few of those will have already broken it by today the 15th of the month. Some people would say that that is all down to a lack of staying power. However, New Year’s resolutions are easy to break if they are not well-thought through and planned in advance. This leads us to our second question….

Who made their New Year Resolution on New Year’s Eve?

Again, we would assume that most resolutions were made during the day or the late evening of the last day of the year. Some may even have been made at the time of the evening when 1 or too many shandies may have been drunk and were said whilst under the influence. The timing of the resolution is as important as the planning. What you are doing on the New Year’s Eve is effectively responding to how you feel in the moment and not on something that you actually feel that you can change. This has an automatic set up to fail attitude about it. Let’s say that you did make your New Year Resolution on the last day of the last decade, and have not kept it, that is okay, is it too late to look at what you said you wanted to achieve and to look at how you can achieve it? Of course, it isn’t. Maybe even with the help of the rest of this article you may be able to get yourself back on track.

New Year’s Resolution Background

In 46BC Julius Caesar decreed that the New Year should start on January 1st, and not only this but subjects should commit to personal improvement, and thus the resolution was born.

If we look at the modern world, cutting down on the overindulgence of the Christmas period and the vow to exercise more may seem like a welcome antidote to the extremes of the frivolity that the festive season saw.

New Year Resolution Statistics

By end of first week of year ¼ will have given up their resolution
By end of year: Fewer than 1 in 10 will make it

The statistics are interesting to see that most people will not make their resolutions last until the end of the year. And the reasons are very simple in that they have not thought them through, said it on the spur of the moment or haven’t set themselves a specific target.

Typical New Year’s Resolutions

The usual resolutions that you hear from people include:

  • I’m going to lose weight,
  • I’m going to exercise more,
  • I’m going to stop drinking, or
  • No more chocolate for me etc.

These are all good things I hear you cry, and of course we agree that they are, but they are the very reason why people fail to keep them as they have not actually said what they are going to achieve.

How to do New Year’s Resolutions Better

So, this new decade, you want to achieve your resolution? How can you do that? Here we have a few simple steps that would make you more resilient to the new year fade.

  1. Plan ahead,
  2. Draw up pros and cons,
  3. Be realistic,
  4. Outline your plan,
  5. Talk about it,
  6. Track your progress,
  7. Reward yourself,
  8. Stick to it,
  9. Don’t beat yourself up,
  10. Keep trying.

Steps 1 to 4 – Plan Ahead, draw up Pros and Cons, Be Realistic and Outline Your Plan

Earlier we alluded to the plan ahead, and not settle on something on New Year’s Eve. On our list of success steps, plan ahead really covers the first 4 on the list.

So, you have decided that you want to make a change in your life, before the dreaded 31st December, don’t rush to find something to change on the day, sit down and devise a ‘Pros and Cons’ list. If you do this in advance you have time to consider it, add to it, amend it and to get your friends and family to assist you with it to make sure that you really are happy with all the pros and cons. Consider carefully why you want to change that part of you and what are the downsides of doing so.

Then, is the time to draw up your plan. The most important part of the plan here is to make sure that you are being realistic and using a goal that is achievable. An easy mnemonic to use to ensure that your goal and plan is achievable is SMART. This stands for:

Specific State exactly what you want to achieve,
Measurable Use smaller, mini goals to measure progress,
Achieveable Make your goal reasonable,
Realistic Set a goal which is appropriate to your life,
Timescale Give yourself time BUT set a deadline!

So, let’s go back and have a look at those ‘typical resolutions’ and see if we can change them.

  • I’m going to lose weight, could become
    • I want to fit into that really nice dress by June.
  • I’m going to exercise more, would perhaps be better if it said
    • I’m going to train to run the local 5K charity run in September.
  • I’m going to stop drinking could become
    • By March, I want to have halved my 10 pints a week.
  • No more chocolate for me becomes
    • I will eat no more than 1 big bar of chocolate a week by March.

A little change in the wording alone makes the whole resolution seem a lot more achievable and a lot less scary than if it is all so generic and big. Of course, there is a chance that you will fall off the wagon of success, but at least you have a chance of getting back onto it.

Step 5 – Talk About It

We are now at Step 5 of our 10-point plan, and this is probably the most important, and that is to make sure that you talk about it. You never know you might actually find someone else who wants to achieve the same goal as yourself and then you can spur each other on. HOWEVER, do not turn it into a competition, that is a sure-fire way to stop progress. If you have people around you who know what you are trying to achieve, then they are more likely to try to assist you and not actually hinder you or even put the dreaded temptation in your way.

Step 6 – Track Your Progress

When you have a big goal in mind that you are trying to achieve, it can be so easy to lose sight of the little incremental gains that you have made along the way. These small gains that you have made should also be marked and celebrated, for argument sake you have managed to run 1K, something you have never done before, say YES! I did it. Record it and then do Step 7 and that is reward yourself.

Step 7 – Reward Yourself

It is time to look at that achievement from Step 6 and think ok, how can I reward myself for that. The answer obviously doesn’t lie in something that would affect your overall big goal, for example a nice pint or a box of chocolates. In fact, it would be much better if you treated yourself to something that you would enjoy, say a movie night with a friend, a visit to your favourite tourist attraction or maybe just a nice new pair of jeans. The important thing is you are celebrating your achievement and keeping yourself working ahead to the big goal you want.

Step 8 – Stick to It

Starting something new is difficult and challenging. In recent studies, researchers have found that it takes 21 days for a new activity or way of life to become a habit, and nearly 6 months before it becomes a part of your personality. Therefore, you have to work hard to get to where you want to be, but in the meantime keep reminding yourself that you can do this.

Step 9 – Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Ok, you have been going well for so long, and oops you slipped off that new perch you were enjoying. What do you do? Well if you are like most people, you are now going to beat yourself up for slipping. This obsession of perfection will never allow you to achieve your bigger goal. Acknowledge that you slipped up, dust yourself off and refocus. If it helps, use your plan, if you wrote it down, and all those progress markers that you have already achieved and recorded and head forward stronger in the knowledge that you can fall, but it doesn’t break your resolve to achieve!

Step 10 – Keep Trying

Step 10 is probably the step you are going to come back to again and again. It may be that as you are reading you have run out of steam for your big goal and stopped striving for it. Hey, it’s ok, you’re human. Want to get back on that goal horse? Well you can! All you have to do is remind yourself of what it is that you are trying to achieve and see if you can find a different way towards it for the next 24 hours, then try another 24 hours. Soon you will be on your merry way to that goal again because those little 24 hours are building up and giving you a solid foundation.

We really hope that whatever your goal is you are able to achieve it, or at least a small part of it in 2020, our 10 step plan isn’t just there for a New Year’s Resolution, it can be used at any point of the year that you want to start a new goal.

We will end this month with 2 very simple words for each and every one of you:

Good Luck!

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