In the blink of an eye, we are approaching the end of January. Many of us may have prepared a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish this year. But while coming up with these resolutions is easy, it can be a challenge keeping them (if you usually abandon your resolutions before January is over – you know what we mean).
The good news is that there are ways to see your plans through. Just follow these tips to stick to your resolutions.
1. Be specific (and realistic) about your goals
Sure, you want to “lose weight”, “save money” or “be more productive at work”. But what do these look like, exactly? How much weight do you plan to lose? How much money do you want to save? How do you intend to be more productive?
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It’s great to think big, but you’ll be doing yourself a favour by coming up with specific goals. So, if you’d like to, say, get in shape, your goals should be to eat a healthier diet and exercise three to five times a week, for an hour each time. Make sure your goals are realistic, too, so that they’re less overwhelming and easier to stick to.
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2. Prepare a plan of action
If your resolution is just another item on your To-do list, you may feel unmotivated and uninspired after a while and start finding reasons to slack off. One solution is to write your goals down where you can see them, and come up with an actionable plan that encourages you to put in the work.
For instance, don’t just say you’ll exercise often. Schedule your workout sessions at the beginning of every week so you won’t have to think about how to find time for them; plan how to make these sessions more fun; review your progress so that you can decide whether to adjust your goal; and so on. Think of the plan as a map that will help guide you along the journey.
3. Try a new or different approach if necessary
Think about how your resolutions of previous years failed. Were they too ambitious or unrealistic? Was your approach to achieving them wrong? Assessing past failures will help you understand what works and doesn’t, so that you can try a new or different approach.
Check in with your resolutions often, too, and if your approach to them doesn’t seem to be working, it’s perfectly okay to change it, even mid-way through the year.
4. Get support from friends and loved ones
Telling your friends and family about your plans will help keep you accountable. It also gives you the support and encouragement you need to see your resolutions through. Let your loved ones know exactly how they can support you, or partner with a friend who shares your specific goal and commit to supporting each other.
If there’s no one in your inner circle who can help you, join a support group of like-minded people.
5. Reward yourself along the way
Treat yourself to something special after every significant milestone. For example, after managing to lose 5kg or save $5,000, reward your hard work and discipline with a fun activity or small gift. Having such incentives will motivate you to stick to your goals and keep you focused on the big picture.
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6. Be patient and remember that you’re making progress
You may experience setbacks along the way that may cause you to go off-track. Don’t beat yourself up over these slip-ups or throw your resolutions out the window at the first sign of difficulty. Instead, embrace them and learn from them so that you can do better next time. And, remind yourself that change takes time and that you’re doing your best and making progress.
Some setbacks may be beyond control – for instance, you may have to dip into your hard-earned savings every month to pay for an important family expense, thereby affecting your resolution to save money. In this case, don’t abandon your resolution, but rather, tell yourself that you’ll set it aside and revisit it some other time.
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