Sticking to your New Year’s Resolution
28th December 2014
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As the new year approaches many people will use the start of January to promise to change and make a New Year’s resolution. The most popular are to lose weight, do more exercise and get fit, save money, stop smoking or take up a new hobby.

There are plenty of statistics showing that many people will give up on their New Year’s resolutions after only a few weeks (or days in some cases) so how can you make it more likely you will achieve your goals?

Here are our top 5 tips to increasing the chances of achieving your New Year’s resolution:

  1. Be specific. A general resolution to ‘get fitter’ or ‘lose weight’ is vague and less likely to be achieved.  Making a goal more specific will give it much more focus and help you understand how to achieve it. For example, deciding to run the Hart Sprint Triathlon in May or to fit back into your size 12 jeans for your summer holiday gives you a clear focus. But it doesn’t have to be a huge resolution either to give you a real sense of achievement. A friend of mine set a New Year’s resolution to get more active and to use the stairs at work rather than the lift – this was a resolution I copied and was still doing many years on…
  2. Choose a resolution which is achievable. Focusing on one resolution will be more achievable than trying to overhaul your complete life in one go. Also be aware of goals that may be influenced by factors outside of your control. For example, deciding you will get promoted and get your manager’s job may not be achievable if a) your manager doesn’t leave or get promoted or b) another candidate is chosen for the job. Setting a resolution to get a job with a salary which pays 5% or 10% may be more achievable as there are many more routes available to you to achieve this.
  3. Make a plan. Breaking your goal down into smaller targets makes it easier for you to track your progress and to see that you are moving towards your goal. For example, following a training programme such as ‘couch to 5k’ or joining a gym and using software such as Preva system used at Hart Leisure Centre to track your progress will give you a sense of achievement as you make progress and reach each smaller target. Taking this approach will also help you manage the inevitable setbacks as you can see the progress you have made as well as having sight of the broader goal you are trying to achieve.
  4. Commit publicly. Writing down your goal and sharing it makes if more likely you will stick at it for longer. There are many theories about how long it takes for a change in behaviour to become a new habit – 21 times is a ‘magic’ number that has been quoted many times but it may take several months. Sharing your commitment (and the inevitable questions this will prompt about your progress) increases the chance that you will keep at it and develop a new positive habit.
  5. Think about what motivates you. Deep down are you motivated by the carrot (the vision of what life would be like if you did achieve your goal) or by the stick (why the status quo is not acceptable)? Being aware of this can be a powerful motivator to help you keep on track. But be aware that this may change as time goes on which you can use to your advantage. For example, when losing weight the fact that your clothes are too tight (‘the stick’) may motivate you initially but, as you start to lose weight being able to wear different clothes (‘the carrot’) may be a more powerful motivator to continue.
About the Author

Tracey S

Member since: 27th June 2014

I have over 20 year’s marketing experience working for companies including Hewlett Packard, Royal Mail, Hitachi and AQA. I live in Fleet and am the owner of thebestof Fleet helping small and medium companies...

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