Most of us make New Years resolutions at the end of December. Maybe it's a result of festive excess that "dry January" and "Veganuary" are becoming increasingly popular but whether your resolution is for just the first month of the New Year or whether it's for the longer term, many of us fail.
Here we ask how best to decide on your New Year resolutions and once agree we've then prepared a though process check list to give you the best opportunity to ensure that your New Year resolutions stick and don't fall at the first hurdle.
Here are the best New Years resolutions tips to help you make those changes that are important to you in this coming year.
Personal motivation underpins the achievement of all resolutions. Make sure that you know why this is important to you and that it relates to what is really important to you in the bigger scheme of things. Many resolutions may compromise other less important things in the short term (e.g. sacrificing a short term feeling of pleasure from drinking alcohol for a longer term goal of feeling of well-being) so keep focused on your big picture.
Many people choose New Year resolutions because they feel they ‘ought
to’ or ‘need to’ perhaps because they have pressure put on them by
others. If you are going to be successful you need to ‘own’ your
resolution and be thinking ‘I want to.’
Creating a mental picture of what it will be like when you have reached your end goal can be immensely powerful, picturing as much detail as possible. E.g. what will it look like, how will you feel, what will be more pleasurable etc.
Plan what you need to do to execute what you want to achieve (e.g. just aiming to lose weight will not happen unless you know how you will do it say by changing your diet, eating less, cutting out certain foods) and also plan how you will overcome temptations should they be put in your way.
Achieving small steps at a time is a great way of ensuring success everyday rather than setting yourself massive steps that are likely to trip you up before you’ve even started. So set yourself doable small steps which will turn easily into habits you can stick to.
Remember a resolution is a promise of an action that you will undertake (or choose not to undertake if you are giving something up) on a regular basis until it becomes a habit. So make sure that it is something that you can achieve at least once. Once you know you can achieve it once this serves as evidence that you can repeat your behaviour until it becomes habit.
Decide how you can reward yourself appropriately for your successes to reinforce the feel good factor of achievement. This doesn’t mean giving yourself that extra cream cake if you have just lost a few pounds instead something else that will make you feel good.
Only share your resolutions with those who will positively support you. Unfortunately there will be others only too pleased to see you fail so share your successes with those who support and share in your joy along the way.
Whilst not essential some people choose to work with a coach who will be unconditionally supportive and are trained to help people make changes in their life. Coaches can help you to define what is really important to you, help identify underlying issues, speed up your progress, and help keep you on track.
You have to be prepared to put effort in especially at the beginning as your new behaviour turns into a well formed habit. Experts say that habits takes about 21 to be formed and several months to be part of who we are.
If you've thought through your New Years resolutions using the guide above and written them down it's now time to sense check them.
The list below identifies 10 reasons why New Years resolutions fail. Take a look at what you've written, read each of the reasons below individually and ask yourself whether what you've written matches up with one of these reasons. If it does then it's time to re-define your New Years resolutions and continue to do so until you're happy that you've avoided all of the pitfalls below.
Here are the 10 reasons why your New Years resolutions could fail...
Often people set a New Year resolution because they feel they ought to or should do rather than because they want to, often because of social conditioning or pressure from friends or family.
Bad habits are often a symptom of a deeper underlying issue (e.g. overeating may be a source of comfort with someone who has low self esteem) so just attempting to tackle the symptom of overeating through a New Year’s resolution may not be as effective as tackling the issue of low self esteem.
Keeping to a resolution may better serve someone in the longer term but often shorter term needs are allowed to distract from the bigger picture. E.g. Short term needs of comfort gained from eating sugary food may distract someone from eating a diet that in the long run will help them to lose weight and make them feel more energized and healthy.
We all want change in our lives whether it is to feel healthier, be fitter, learn new things however most people fail to realize that change doesn’t just ‘happen to them’ they have to take responsibility for making it happen which involves some sort of personal change of habit and sacrifice. Anyone can easily have great intentions however you will rarely make progress without conscious effort and taking action.
People will readily decide what they want to change and even have clear goals but unless they have a clear plan on how they will change then they are unlikely to see their goals materialize.
Unfortunately not everyone around us, even close friends and family are supportive of changes we want to make. Even without thinking a carelessly spoken ‘you’ll never do that’ or a ‘here we go again’ comment can finds is way into our psyche and make us believe we cannot succeed.
If you set yourself too big a task too soon then you are more likely to trip up which in turn will subconsciously reinforce the difficulty of your challenge.
If you don’t really believe you will succeed then you won’t and often we let our past experiences colour what we can achieve in the future regardless of whether these past experiences are relevant.
For many people the New Year may be a challenging time of the year to change habits. Starting a running regime whilst the snow is falling or changing your diet when you are out socializing with others may put perceived barriers up before you have started.
Many people if they trip up momentarily, instead of treating it as a glitch not to repeated or to be learned from, will beat themselves up and then give up totally.