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How To Keep Your New Year Resolutions
New Year is a time when many of us get the urge to start fresh and make changes in our lives, but often we find it hard to stick to our new year resolutions. Whatever your goals, here are a few tips to prevent these new year resolutions being abandoned around February!
Statistics show that only 8% of us manage to keep new year resolutions. The fact that this number is so low suggests that there’s something making this challenge difficult. Are the the odds stacked against us from the start?
New Year Goals
Long term change can be hard. If it was easy to change our behaviour, we’d all be doing it all the time. We are creatures of habit, and although that new year January buzz gives us a little extra motivation, it doesn’t last forever and inevitably we’re left with the same familiar struggles.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There are skills we can learn that improve the chances of successful behaviour change. Here are just a few.
Concentrate on the Present
It can be hard to try and change your personality overnight. If you’ve had a few setbacks, forget about the past and concentrate on today. Try not to look too far ahead either. Large goals like “lose weight” or “stop stressing” can be so vague or vast that we give up by February.
Try to keep your goals more manageable and take smaller steps towards them. For example, commit to going to the gym today, or taking a yoga class tonight. Keep yourself motivated with visual reminders of your goal. Plan ahead and try to avoid any temptation from your environment so you won’t have to battle with it later. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Build Your Resilience
Once we’ve set our mind to something we are always keen to see results, but progress is seldom fast or linear. We all have our ups and downs and it’s our resilience and ability to get back on track after setbacks that ensure success. We can all learn to be more resilient in the face of failure. Try to avoid ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking, small steps are better than nothing.
Self-control and willpower actually improve the more you use them. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or stop smoking, the more you resist the easier it should become. Be mindful of your behaviour and recognise any triggers or self-defeating behaviours.
We all have a tendency to go into things full steam ahead in January when motivation is high. In order to carry on into February and beyond it may be necessary to slow the pace slightly. Slower change is often longer lasting so it’s worth taking your time.
With any goal it really helps to track your progress in a calendar, tracker or diary. However you monitor your progress, give yourself little rewards when you do well and don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a setback. Forgive yourself, lift your spirits and try again. Treat yourself every so often and reward your accomplishments to keep yourself on track.
Bored by February
As time goes on you’ll want to ensure you don’t get bored with routines that seemed fresh and exciting in January. Keep mixing things up. Try a new class at the gym or cook some healthy new recipes. Get out and meet some new people that might be able to support you. Don’t get stuck in a rut and let boredom ruin your chances.
One way to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance is to choose something that really matters to you. Don’t just follow the crowd when it comes to making your new year’s resolutions. Asses your life and think about the thing that’s missing. What is it that would really make you happy? Some people find a coaching session helps them focus on a goal and plan for change.
It’s good to be ambitious but if you try and set yourself too many resolutions you’re much more likely to fail. Try concentrating on one larger goal and then break that down into smaller, more manageable steps. Remember, these objectives work better when you use the SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable.
Seek Support to Keep New Year Resolutions
If you think about it, the ’old’ you is the one who has developed this unwanted behaviour. They are stuck in their ways. They have multiple reasons not to change and other competing commitments fighting for time and resources. You can’t always change alone, you may need a helping hand.
It often helps to share your plan with someone else as this creates a feeling of accountability and can act as extra motivation in tough times. You could try a coach, mentor, online forums or friends and family.
I’ve helped many clients make changes in their lives that they never thought they’d be able to achieve. It’s not just about willpower and motivation, our habits often give us comfort, relieve loneliness or distract us from inner conflicts. This can be very hard to change without addressing the root problem or replacing these habits with more positive coping mechanisms.
If you’d like to talk to me about your own new year’s resolutions and how I can support you with them please do get in touch. I offer sessions in my London hypnotherapy clinic or through private online hypnotherapy.
Whatever new year resolutions you’ve set yourself good luck and don’t give up!
Further Reading on New Year Resolutions
How to Increase Your Motivation and Achieve Your Desires
Improve Motivation to Exercise
Reinvent Yourself for New Year
How to Break Bad Habits with Hypnotherapy