I came across the concept of the Groundhog Resolution the other day – the one that you make year after year, to no effect.
How do you maximise your chances of keeping your resolutions? One way, of course, is to use a coach who can help you explore your motivation, come up with a plan, and keep you to it. But you may find these ideas helpful:
1. It is best not to dissipate effort, so limit the number of resolutions that you make. It is better to achieve 3 than miss all 10.
2. As with all goals, they tend to work best if they are challenging yet realistic. Attempting the impossible often leads to discouragement.
3. Be specific – know what you are going to do, by when, and how you will know that you have done it. For example, not just “lose weight” but “lose 7 pounds by the end of February” or “be able to get into that dress by the wedding”.
4. Write it down. That means that it becomes not a vague mental intention, but something specific. And you can display it where it will remind you.
5. If appropriate, break the goal down into different steps, setting target dates for each of them. If you are decluttering your house, try one pile a day, or one room a month. If improving your fitness, start with 5 press ups, then add 5 per week up to 50.
6. Establish good habits (and get rid of bad ones). Habits stop you having to make an effort to do whatever it is. It is generally accepted that new habits take a minimum of 21 days to become established, so make sure that you keep going for the first month!
7. Build in accountability. Licence someone to nag. Join a weight loss or fitness group, where others will keep you to it. Tell your mates down the pub so that they pull your leg if you give up.
8. Reward yourself for achievement. Perhaps a slap up meal for losing weight is not appropriate, but maybe spending some of the money saved by not smoking is.
9. Accept that there will be hiccups, and do not give up. Readjust your planning to take account of them and keep going.