The start of the New Year can be a great time to make some changes in your life. Unfortunately, we often break those New Year’s resolutions rather quickly. My plan to cut back on coffee has already been put to the test by the offerings at a New Year’s Day party! So, I’ve put together a few tips on how to make & keep those resolutions. I hope that you find them helpful:
- Use past successes as a model. Have your ever made New Year’s resolutions before and kept them? How did you do it? Go back to that winning formula and use it again…there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
- Continue with current progress. Do you already have goals in place that you are achieving? Some of your resolutions can be commitments to continue these current achievements throughout the new year.
- Make a short list of resolutions that you’d like to keep. You might start with a longer list and reduce that list to 1-3. Too many resolutions are likely to be intimidating and unwieldy.
- Make those resolutions concrete. In other words, don’t just say “I’m going to eat better in 2007” or “I will exercise more in 2007.” Those are too ambiguous. Say something like “I will eat no more than one sweet with processed sugar per day” or “I will eat fast food no more than one time per week” or “I will eat at least 3 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables each day.” If the goals are more defined, they are easier to follow, and it’s easier to hold yourself accountable.
- Make resolutions that are realistic. Going from not exercising at all to exercising an hour per day is a huge leap. Yes, it would be nice to achieve that but goals that are too lofty are often daunting. Try to set the bar for something that would represent an appreciable improvement but perhaps not the “ideal.” With regard to the exercise example, setting the goal for exercising at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes still represents a significant improvement over not doing any. Start with the lower level goal. If you achieve over that, it’s gravy.
- Write your (concrete, realistic) resolutions down and keep the list somewhere that easily accessible (maybe a post it note on your computer).
- Tell others of your commitment to these resolutions. Supportive friends and family members can help you achieve your goals.
- Reward yourself at various junctures for maintaining your resolutions. For example, perhaps you can reward yourself for keeping your exercise program on a weekly basis by buying a new CD or with buying new clothes after following the exercise program for a month.
- Keep track of your progress. Write down how you are doing on your resolutions. By doing this, you will know when you earn your reward for your progress.
- Don’t give up! It’s likely that you will slip up, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! Just get back on that resolution horse again when you fall off and don’t beat yourself up about it. If you need to, revise your resolution slightly to be more realistic & attainable.
I hope you find these helpful – good luck & Happy New Year!