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New Year’s resolutions - how to succeed this year…


happy-new-year2.jpgDid you succeed with any of your new year's resolutions last year? If you're anything like me it's easy to make New Year's resolutions, in fact, I start making them in about November. As it gets closer to the time though I start wondering if maybe they're just a little bit unrealistic. By the time New Year actually comes and after the annual overindulgent naughty binge that is Christmas my ideas of stopping smoking, losing 20lbs by February and looking more like a super model just don't seem that feasible anymore! If this sounds like you and each year causes you feelings of guilt and failure, don't fret – here's some advice about how to make resolutions you can keep this year.

Make your goals small and specific, even in the long term
Establish your long term plan but stop aiming so high. You're unlikely to go from couch potato to a twice daily gym bunny or clear your debts in a couple of weeks but you can work towards it, here's how…

Make even your long term goal realistic and write down how you're going to specifically move towards it. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule one or two hours a week at the gym.

Small steps
You can then break your long term goal down into even smaller increments. Maybe you can start with a ten minute stroll to get used to exercise again - and chose something you enjoy. If we NewYearsResolutions2.jpgenjoy something we are more likely to want to do it again.

Remember, a feasible daily task will accomplish a larger goal in time.

Don't pin it all on January
This is where most of us go wrong - we pin all our hopes on those first 31 days and we start our unrealistic resolutions straight after a week of excess when we're least likely to succeed and try to make them all happen at breakneck speed. Inevitably, a couple of weeks in and our resolutions are long forgotten.

You've made a long term commitment to change something you're not happy with and just like sustainable weight loss, it's not going to happen overnight (or if it does, you'll put it straight back on again). So, let's slow down a bit shall we? Start slowly and surely and perhaps give January a break altogether.

Identify time wasters
What are the things that slow you down, that stop you from really doing what you want, what you know you're capable of? This could be anything or anyone. Do you always check your emails, your facebook or your twitter before you get round to anything? Try to save that until after you've done other things.

Sometimes though it's the people who are closest to us who are actually the most dangerous consumers of our time. Being "there" for family and friends when they need us is important but being there whenever they want us is sometimes less so. Just occasionally, when you've got a goal you're working towards, turn on that answering machine or wait ten minutes before you respond to that all-important text.
Focus on others
Many studies show that we tend to be happier around others and if you take part in an activity with family, friends or others you may find your resolution feels less like a chore and instead something you look forward to doing. So, when you resolve to learn an instrument why not treat yourself and a friend to guitar lessons or go swimming in a group as part of your plan to lose weight?

Ask for support
Reach out and ask for support if you need it especially when you feel your resolve fading. Your friends may well have followed the same diet, tried the same exercise routine or equally trying to save money. They could help, empathise or offer valuable tips and it could be a bonding experience you'll never forget!

Finally, celebrate your achievements - even if you have set backs along the way.

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