Well, it’s a month since New Year’s Eve. Are your New Year’s resolutions hanging by a thread? Did you swear to yourself that this year would be different, this year you’re finally going to eradicate those bad habits that have held you back for too long. Did you watch one of the “Bridget Jones’ Diary” movies over Christmas and think to yourself, that will not be me? However, the unfortunate truth is that by “Blue Monday”, many people realise their enthusiasm was left back in 2022 and the excitement of a drastic change you promised yourself, is dwindling faster than most peoples’ bank balances in January.
However, it doesn’t need to this way, with the right plan, we can make it much easier for ourselves to be able to follow our resolutions! In this article, we discuss useful hacks that will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions. You might even re-start some. The reality is that most people make resolutions that are actually not possible.
Big sweeping statements such as, “I’m going to completely change who I am” or “this New Year, everyone is going to see a new me”. Resolutions like these are setting you up for failure. For a start, you cannot change who you are. What you can change are your behaviours and your habits. So:
- Set achievable goals!
One of the biggest mistakes we make is setting targets that are very difficult to attain and we have not really thought them through. For instance, even though it might sound great to lose 40 pounds this year, if you need to, can you really achieve it within the next 12 months. Even though some resolutions may sound great, when you take your daily routine, habits, and lifestyle into account, you might need to make some significant alterations to your life. So, make a New Year’s resolution that is not going to require an immediate and significant change of lifestyle from day 1.
- Do not make too many resolutions.
Having a limited number of resolutions will help you focus better on your end goal. Too many resolutions will complicate your routine, divide your attention, and reduce the chances of you staying on track to attain them. So, make it a point to choose only a couple of genuinely helpful and needed targets.
- Break them into Monthly resolutions!
Again, try and break your goals into smaller goals or create milestones for yourself every month. If you’ve decided you want to get fit/fitter and you have purchased an app which provides a full body workout just using your own bodyweight. Any exercise programme like that will almost certainly have goals that you can control and timeframes, which you can control. If you’re not fit and you’ve made a serious commitment to get fit, the first few months are going to be tough, so you having a bit of control over targets and timeframes is no harm at all, especially if it helps you to stay on track. Taking the earlier example, if your resolution is to lose 40 pounds, you can set monthly and quarterly targets. Thus, breaking the same objective into smaller blocks reduces the pressure on you to achieve them and simplifies things. We’re hard enough on ourselves as it is, so if one of your targets is to lose 10 pounds by the end of March, but you end up losing 8 pounds…congratulations for losing 8 pounds, while also changing your daily routine to include exercise and eating better.
- Track your goals and reward yourself
Basic human nature dictates that we respond to and try harder to achieve a goal if there is a reward at the end, so track your progress and give yourself a genuinely nice reward for achieving a milestone or a monthly target. This might sound very simple, but it is, and it’s also a great way to stay motivated and on track.
- Make vision boards for a motivational boost!
Putting up vision boards in your home and office is a great way to stay motivated to do better than last week or last month. If you have ever worked in, or just visited a really successful call-centre, you will see vision and target boards everywhere, because they work! Get creative and make a personal vision board that is a clear representation of your goals, new habits and the actions required to reach your ultimate goal. Putting pictures of how you have changed on the vision board can help to increase impact when you look at it.
- Don’t burden yourself with a stressful routine
This is one of the most common mistakes people make if their New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get fit. Most people like some routine in their lives, as it gives them a sense of control, reducing stress and anxiety. A sudden introduction of a new exercise regime immediately makes life more stressful. Most of us have very bus days anyway, so don’t be too hard on yourself – remember, you have a whole year; However, you can’t forget the importance of discipline and perseverance. Create a schedule that works for you, not against you. If you do the latter, you will start to find excuses very quickly, and if you are one of the millions of people who make this Resolution every year, you might have thrown in the towel already. If you have given up already, it’s very likely that you didn’t do any of the things mentioned here. But there’s hope, its still January, you can get back on the horse, use these “Hacks” to make things much easier for yourself.
- Always check to see if any of your friends have made the same resolution and do things together.
No matter how driven or persevering you are, following the same routine, will eventually feel monotonous. When something becomes boring, it can be extremely difficult to stay motivated. One of the most effective ways to counteract this, is to find a friend for certain goals, especially fitness goals. Doing workouts, for example, with a friend often brings out our sense of competitiveness – as it will for your friend. You can really help each other to achieve more than if you were there individually. This doesn’t just apply to lifting heavier weights but if you are supposed to go for a run one night, and its raining and cold so you decide to stay in; however, your friend turning up at your front door, ready to go for a run, will usually give you all the motivation you need.
- Take a break from the routine.
You must make the process of attaining the goals fun and focused on relieving stress, not increasing it. Thus, it is important to take a break from your routine and give yourself time to unwind and relax. Your mind needs a break too, so that you can bounce back with the same determination as when you started. So, depending on what your goal is, take a break.
For example, if you have made a resolution to spend just two hours a day on social media, you can break this rule once a week. If you have decided to cut down on sugar, you can enjoy your favourite “unhealthy” snack, once a week or a month, whatever suits you. If you have a friend to train with, a great way to take a break from your routine is for the two of you to try out slightly different ways of working out. For example, you could try boxing, jiu jitsu, tennis, fencing, horseback riding, or even ballroom dancing.
- Meditation works wonders.
Meditation will make you peaceful, happier, and strong inside. While meditating imagine how you will feel after achieving your goals. Do it as a regular practice to stay on track. Learn meditation and manifestation techniques from an expert. With regular practice, you will be able to achieve much more than your New Year’s resolutions.
- Love yourself, do self-talk.
Unless we love ourselves, we cannot achieve big goals in life. Take some time out for yourself. Take good care of your body as well as your mind. Follow a beauty regime to feel good about yourself. For mental health, you can do meditation, gardening, and read inspiring books.
The vast majority of the most successful people in the world, who became successful through hard work, would never have reached the heights they have if they had not practiced the art of sitting alone for at least 5 to 10 minutes and telling themselves how good they will feel after attaining a particular goal, or standing in front of a mirror and telling themselves repeatedly, over and over again, how great they are and what they are going to achieve – and there’s no “mights or maybes”, it’s all “I am going to…”, I will be the most…”. Such positive self-talk is critical for success and the more you tell yourself something, the more you believe you can do it and before you can do anything, you have to believe you can do it. This is where visualisation becomes so important, but I could write a whole blog just on visualisation.
Making resolutions is easy but achieving them is NOT. The “Hacks” mentioned, will definitely increase your chances of keeping the promises you made to yourself one month ago. Make sure you work and act as per your resolutions but keep enjoying life at the same time. Your goals will become achievable if you make an action plan that doesn’t make your life more stressful, allowing for breaks and rewards.
Always be prepared for days when you will not be able to follow them. Life is full of the unexpected, but bouncing back is what matters.