How to achieve your New Year's resolutions
It’s 2021! Have you set yourself some New Year’s resolutions? Or, have you not bothered as you know you will inevitably be one of the 80% of people who fail? Well, this year will be different. Here are some tips and tricks to overcome any hurdles and help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions …
Getting the right mindset
There’s little point in making a resolution that sets out to achieve the impossible – that’s just setting yourself up for failure from the word go.
So, set yourself resolutions that are doable and achievable yet still have value and meaning. This is one of the key tips offered in an article published by the New York Times.
If you want a more mindful spin on pretty much the same sentiment, you might also turn to an article published by Psych Central of the 14th of January 2020, which suggested that you keep your New Year’s resolutions realistic.
Before you start on your journey, make sure you have the tools needed to help you succeed. For example, this could be anything from mobile apps (such as calorie tracking) to an online course (if you have decided to write a book) to getting proper running gear (if you have decided to start running).
In some cases, where you are not giving something up but instead making a self-improvement, start small and build up from there. Say you want to improve your physical fitness. Rather than saying from the outset that you will do 100 press-ups a day, start with just five press-ups a day, gradually building up to as many as you can.
Put another way, make your start with “bite-sized portions”.
One of the things that follows on from those suggestions about keeping things achievable and not biting off more than you can chew is to try and make your resolutions measurable.
Measuring your progress might be more straightforward with some resolutions than others. That example about improving your fitness, for instance, can be measured by the increased number of press-ups you can do.
If you are looking to lose weight, you can count the pounds – or kilos – you have shed. There are plenty of apps that you can use that not only track your calorie count per day but have a satisfying-to-look-at graph as your weight does downwards.
Maybe you can see financial benefits from your new habits? Research shows that after stopping smoking for a year, someone who used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day will save over £4050. Someone who drinks alcohol regularly can save an average of £1,000 a year by stopping.
With other resolutions, you might need to be a little more inventive and measure your progress by keeping a journal, making notes on your mobile, or even taking before and after pictures.
Procrastination is “a friend without benefits”, writes a contributor to Psychology Today on the 2nd of September 2020. Procrastination lets you tell yourself you have avoided completing something. But in that very avoidance, you have put paid to any chance of achieving your goals.
If you want to achieve any New Year’s resolutions, don’t delay, do it today. Stop procrastinating, says the Lifehack. It might be tempting to put off making any kind of start until the conditions are right. But that very moment, when everything comes together to make the ideal set of circumstances, is unlikely ever to come. The result is that you never get to make a start, let alone see your resolutions through to a successful conclusion.
There is a chink in everything – that’s how the light gets in
One of the false comrades in arms of procrastination is perfectionism – you are delaying taking action until the circumstances are exactly right and you stand a chance of completing your objectives perfectly.
The sad truth is that things are almost certainly never going to be that perfect. You are unlikely to complete the task to perfection. There is always likely to be some – even small – blemish in any sought-for result.
It is through precisely those imperfections, those chinks in the armour, that the light gets in – and teaches us some of the deeper home truths about the world in which we live.
Acknowledge your commitment
When you manage to reach the next step along the road to achieving a resolution – when you are genuinely making progress – it is important to reward yourself in some way so that your achievement gains the recognition it deserves.
You are physiologically designed to seek out pleasure over pain. So, keep in mind some treat, reward, or source of pleasure that you can grant yourself for achieving a particular milestone along the way to achieving a New Year’s resolution.
If you have decided to give up smoking, drinking alcohol, or your chocolate habit, for example, put the money you would have spent to one side. You can then use the money to treat yourself.
If you have lost weight, buy yourself a new outfit. And so on.
Finally, it might be worth visiting that article in the Evening Standard once again. Remind yourself that changes, even those that you have envisaged as “good” for you, cannot be forced. However, beneficial the outcome, change is never going to happen overnight.
So, allow time for each small step to count and for your progress to take the time that it needs. If you break your resolution, don’t beat yourself up. Accept that you are human and may have the odd blip. Then start again. You are in this for the long haul.
This data is correct as at the time of writing.