Every year, we turn the page on the calendar and have blank pages to fill in our diary with appointments and events for the year ahead. This figurative “clean slate” makes it so easy for many people to create new year’s resolutions. Additionally, the beginning of the new year is a good time to decide to change a behaviour, because you know that millions of people are doing the same.
Here are some key points that will help you make better resolutions this year:
Some of the most popular resolutions include weight loss, making better financial choices, quitting smoking and spending more time with family. These resolutions are well-intentioned, but often lack the specifics that make them achievable.
Choosing a specific, achievable goal gives you the opportunity to plan how exactly you can achieve your goal during the year. Knowing the exact outcome you want to reach and what difficulties you can face, you will be better prepared to stick to your resolution and overcome your potential struggles. A frustrating resolution is often a useless one, so what is the point of using “go big or go home” as your guiding principle?
You cannot learn “not to do” something, so if you concentrate only on retaining your behaviour, you will never develop new, healthy habits. For example, the decision to never eat your favorite food again, because it causes you to gain weight, can be a bad choice for a New Year’s resolution.
However, if you instead resolve to eat your favorite food in moderation, or as a reward for exercise, you are training yourself to reward a new behavior. This has the makings of a successful resolution.
Track Your Progress
Logging in progress in a journal, taking notes on your phone, or using behavioural tracking devices and applications can help you stay on target, no matter what type of resolution you’ve set.
By having concrete, measurable actions part of your daily routine, triggered by everyday activities (such as returning home from work and jumping into a pair of shoes running through the back door) makes it easy to achieve success – and you will see those results noted in your log.
Share Your Journey
Keeping your resolutions to yourself can contribute to failure because the only person who monitors your progress is you. Sharing resolutions with your family and friends helps you to be responsible because you answer to more people if you fail to achieve your goals.
Consequently, you’ll find positive support when family members, friends, and colleagues talk about each other’s resolutions, and it will make it easier to work together to make them happen. You’ll find that people who care about you will support your determination to change your habits or achieve better health.
Have a Backup
Of course, no matter how sensible your goals, you likely won’t reach all of them. So, when coming up with your list, think also about your “Plan B” – in other words, what would be an acceptable alternate outcome.
For example, if your stated goal is to lose 30 pounds, perhaps an alternate outcome you would be happy to achieve would be to cycle once a week. That way, if you don’t lose the weight, you’d still be able to check that goal off the list.
Create your own personal reward program for achieving milestone goals or completing a whole year of problem-solving. By setting realistic, achievable goals for yourself and planning ahead of time to maintain your commitment to your self-improvement plan, you already are on the right track.
Use simple rewards that remind yourself you’ve accomplished something, and make sure that you only use them for this special occasion.
With these six tips, I’m sure you will be successful in implementing your New Year’s resolutions.
Heather Wilde, CTO Beneple.