How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Successful

30 December 2021

The chaos of the holidays is over, the days are getting longer, new calendars are being posted, so it is the perfect time to make changes in your life. It seems that resolutions are significantly easier to to conceive than to keep.

Most of these decisions center around health like losing weight by exercise and diet, financial like saving more and spending less, and relationships like spending more time with family members or social commitments.

There are some ways you can actually maintain your goals beyond the spring and here are some ideas about that.

Be Specific

Instead of:

  • I am going to lose weight try I will lose two pounds per month.
  • I will call crazy Aunt Martha more often try I will call her on the third Tuesday of each month.

Be Selective

Instead of overwhelming yourself, focus on a single goal a a time. In fact, break it down into reasonable chunks. When you assemble a new bookcase, you follow the instructions and go one step at a time. Become your own Ikea and write out some workable goals and attack them singly.

By actually writing out your plan, you can also develop the strategies necessary to make it happen. When things become challenging, you will have something physical, or electronic, to get over the setback.

How to Make New Year's Resolutions Successful

Stick to the Plan

Jumping in too quickly can be a leap to failure. Habits are changed in increments. By adhering to a specific outline you are more likely to achieve and maintain your goals. Small changes multiply over time. If your goal is to eat healthier, replace one or two of your unhealthy choices with something better, pack your lunch instead of hitting the vending machine or fast food, reduce portion sizes, or increase the variety of vegetables in your eating plan.

Revisit the Ghost of New Years’ Past

If this is a resolution you have attempted in previous years, you should do some soul searching. What worked and what didn’t? What prevented your success? Change an approach or make the method more practical or feasible.

Support System

Mention what you are doing to your close friends or family members. They can become a sounding board for your successes no matter how minor and to encourage you when times get rough.

Consider a buddy system. It is a lot harder to blow off that morning run when you have someone relying on you to join them.

You may want to consult a professional. Even one or two sessions with a personal trainer might make a difference. Ask your family physician about a nutritionist. Join a community group for parental support.

Continue the Process

Understand that if you hit a glitch or even fail, it does not mean you can’t start over. Keep your motivation as strong as possible or renew it periodically.

Keep a journal. When you review it, focus on the upswings. Realize that there were downsides but use that as inspiration to find a more acceptable method or result. Adapt as necessary. They are your goals and you have the right to change them. You can also try one of the other techniques that you didn’t think were applicable at the time, but things could have changes.

Reward yourself. After spending an hour visiting crazy Aunt Martha, sit outside and breath fresh air and listen to the birds. Don’t think about the visit or the gloominess or the weirdness. Just chill.

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