Which of these will be your new year’s resolution?
- “Lose Weight”
- “Quit Smoking”
- “Stop Drinking”
- “Get a Better Job”
- “Quit Procrastinating”
- “Spend More Time With My Family”
Resolutions like these flow as fast as champagne on New Year’s Eve.
But come February or March, how many have achieved those goals or are still working towards achieving them?
There are lineups at gyms and weight loss centres on the first business day of January but in March you could probably shoot a canon in a gym and not hit anyone. And there are more seats empty at weight loss group meetings than full.
In an article on Statistic Brain, 9.2% of people felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.
Pretty low, right? Think about the resolutions you made last year. Where are you today?
Here are 11 tips to help you keep your new year’s resolution
The resolutions in the list above are behaviour changes. It’s easy to be gung ho and go hard and enthusiastically work on these changes in the beginning, but then interest flags and they are forgotten.
New year’s resolutions often fail because there isn’t a strategy for making a change.
These tips can help you keep your new year’s resolution.
1. Write it down
Preferably in ink. Writing down your goals reinforces the commitment you make to yourself. Maybe use a journal or a notebook and refer to it often.
You are bombarded with hundreds of pieces of information a day – your goal may get pushed away or to the side when other more pressing issues come up.
2. Use an anchor
A trigger is a physical thing you do whenever you want to remind yourself to do something. For example, taking your thumb and index finger and making a circle to remind you not to smoke or eat junk food.
3. Make a 30-day commitment
Some experts say it takes 21 days to make a new habit, others say a month. Give yourself 30 days to stick to your new behaviour and you have a much better chance at being successful.
4. Replace a bad habit with a something positive
Do you often smoke after a meal? Most do. Find something else to do with your hands at that time of the day. Go for a walk, knit, crochet, do a sudoku puzzle.
When I quit smoking I crocheted during those times. In six weeks I had crocheted a six-foot square afghan.
Do you eat junk food while watching tv? Keep healthy snacks like carrots and air-popped popcorn on hand as a healthy alternative.
Occupy your mind and your hands with something else rather than the old habit.
Journalling about your progress each day is a great reinforcement for you. It shows you how far you’ve come.
There are many options to do this.
- apps available for mobile devices.
- use your word processor on your desktop computer
- use a notebook and record your progress in ink – maybe buy a pretty notebook
6. Give yourself positive feedback
We are often our own worst enemies. We have no problem being kind to others but we are often hard on ourselves.
Give yourself positive self-talk.
When you’ve had a great positive day, pat yourself on the back.
You’re worth it!
7. Take the long view
For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, consider how you are going to do it.
Is a fad diet going to be sustainable in the long term? Can you seriously imagine yourself eating cabbage soup or grapefruit or sustaining yourself on a 900 calorie a day diet for the rest of your life? The lack of nutrition not to mention plain old boredom will have you heading for the nearest fast food joint in no time.
A diet that consists of grapefruit and water isn’t going to provide nutritional needs to last your whole life. Work on creating changes to your diet, work, exercise or routines that can be sustained for years. Crash diets and 18-hour workdays will eventually break. Trying a hypnosis process like the virtual gastric band is a great option.
8. Make it fun
Making your lifestyle change fun or positive will help you keep working towards your goals. For example, If you don’t like working out at the gym, a membership isn’t going to be a good use of your money. Maybe going for long walks is better for you.
Find ways to make your new habits more enjoyable.
9. One slip doesn’t mean that you have to fall
So you have one bad moment. Pick yourself up and get back on track. As long as one bad day doesn’t turn into two, three, four, five and so on, you are okay.
I often tell my hypnosis clients that if they have one meal where they go overboard, it is only one meal in 1,095 in a year. 365 days after that huge meal, will it make a difference in the long term?
10. Break a goal into a smaller goal
If you have a long distance to walk, thinking of how far you have to go can sometimes discourage you.
If you want to lose weight and the thought of 50 pounds just seems too daunting, break it down into five-pound mini-goals. Five pounds is more achievable than 50. Achieve that five-pound goal and set that next five-pound goal.Not smoking a cigarette this moment is easier to think about than the thought of not smoking for the rest of your life.
11. Get Help
You don’t have to go it alone.
Social support is beneficial to achieving goals. Find others who want to achieve the same things you do so you can help support each other. See if there are groups for what you want to achieve on Facebook or on Meetup.com.
If you are having a hard time sticking to your goals, consider hypnosis. Habits really reside in the subconscious and hypnosis can help get the message to that part of your mind to help you keep your new year’s resolution.