Right now, you’re probably feeling pretty positive about your New Year’s resolutions. We’re only a few days into 2019 and so far you managed to refrain from raiding the biscuit jar every hour; things are going good. But as the month rolls on and then the year, it’s likely to get a bit harder.
After all, work hasn’t quite ramped up to full levels yet and family life is still enjoying that post-festive glow. So, here’s how to ensure you stick to those goals for the rest of the month and well into the year.
Break the mould
First things first, think carefully about your New Year’s resolution and make sure that it is truly geared towards you and not just a worn out cliche. Everyone talks about losing weight and being healthier in the first months of the year, but is this really what will improve your everyday life? A resolution should be something specific to yourself that you want to change for you.
Setting a measurable goal is important because attaining it will help you to achieve it, sparking even more motivation in turn. Perhaps it’ll be to take a walk in your lunch break three times a week or to get off the bus two stops earlier. You’ll be able to look back at these achievements and say you did it. Simply stating you want to lose weight or be healthier is a bit vague for true progress.
The reason why many resolutions fizzle out by February is because they were never really going to happen. Small changes can lead to big changes in the long term, but trying to run before you can walk is setting yourself up for failure. It’s better to stick to a smaller resolution and build on it in 2020 – that sounds like a really long time away, but it’s not – than getting to the end of 2019 having not made that first small step.
Focus on one thing at a time
Most of us could come up with quite a list of things we want to change about ourselves and our lives without too much thinking. Grouping all these things together and trying to tackle them all at once is never going to be a success. Look at the list and prioritise the most important one to you, so that you can focus your energies on that specific task and do it well.
Band together with a friend
There’s nothing quite like peer pressure to make you follow through on a promise you made to yourself. After all, you’re far less likely to let down Sally from next door when you said you’d go for that 7am run than you are yourself. Let’s face it, many resolutions are to do with exercise and having a buddy will help to motivate both of you at one point or another throughout 2019.
Don’t punish yourself
If you fall off the resolution cart, then climb back on. Just because you broke it on day four doesn’t mean that day five, six and seven can’t be a success. A year is a long time and keeping something going for that long is hard. Think about how you’ll feel on December 31st 2019 if you can say that you managed your resolution for 50 per cent of the year – that’s a huge achievement, so be kind to yourself.
Make it fun
So, you want to eat more fruit? Or cut down on sugary foods? You want to do more exercise? Or keep in touch with family more regularly? There are ways to achieve all these things without making it harder on yourself.
If you don’t eat enough fruit because you get sick of looking at the same old tired apple in the fruit bowl, add some mango to a savoury salad. Substitute sugary foods for delicious alternatives that will tempt you away from the junk. Join a dancercise class instead of trying to get out for a run in the rain on a Tuesday morning. And plan fun events to get the family together instead of committing to a weekly phone call.
Celebrate the successes
We all set out with the best intentions to keep our resolutions all year, but it’s pretty tough, so make sure you reward yourself when you reach certain milestones. If you’re trying to stop smoking, use some of the money you’ve saved at the end of the first month to go to the flicks or have a nice meal with friends. If you’ve lost a stone out of the four you’re aiming for, treat yourself to a tub of low-fat ice cream in a new flavour. Such rewards will help to propel you towards the next milestone.