It’s that time of year again, are you someone who makes New Year resolutions? Halfway through January, have you already broken yours?
One year, I made a resolution that this year would be better than the last. This did not work out as many things happened beyond my control, the year went from bad to worse and I then felt even more of a failure as I couldn’t keep (what I considered) a simple resolution.
Of course, looking back, this was a foolish resolution as there are so many things in life we cannot control and it was not possible to measure whether I’d had a “better” year so how would I know if I’d “achieved” it?!
So, what makes a good resolution and how do we keep it?
- Make sure it’s SMART: (sorry if this sounds like school but it’s basic stuff that works)
- Specific – make sure you know exactly what you’re doing!
- Measurable – how will you know you’ve achieved it?
- Achievable – is this something you know you can achieve or is it going to stretch you a bit? Even stretching you a lot is ok, as long as it’s within reach.
- Realistic – is it really some thing you want to do? Does it sound reasonable?
- Time limited – when are you going to achieve it? Some things you can start straight away, others, you may do with a stepped approach and therefore you need to know when you’re going to do what.
- Know what motivates you – if you can pat yourself on the back internally, well done. Most people need something external, either someone else to congratulate them or some external reward. This could be money, a new meal out, a holiday – work out what it is and make sure it’s in place. When the going gets tough, focus on the reward. If you need recognition from family and friends, tell them and be accountable.
- Get the support you need – studies show people are four times more likely to successfully quit smoking with support vs doing it on their own. There must be similar success rates with other goals, make sure you get the right support at the right time.
- If you slip up, call it that – you have not failed, you are not back at square one, you’ve got experience behind you now, use that experience to have another go. Beating yourself up is unlikely to help you achieve your goal!
- Count your achievements – if you kept your resolution for 1 day and slipped up over the next 2, you still know you can do it for a day, focus on what you achieved that day, forget the others.
- Don’t be afraid to change your goal – if it’s not working, don’t give up, just re-evaluate, think about what’s happened, is it a lack of time, a change of circumstances or lack of support? Set something more realistic.
- There’s no time like the present – if you’ve not started yet, don’t wait for next year to make another resolution, 1st February is just as good as 1st January.
- Just do it! Ultimately, be honest with yourself, are you making silly excuses? Your the only one who knows, do you need to “cut the c***” and just get on with it?!
If, for example, you want to “get fit” – that’s not measurable so make sure you know what you’re aiming for, do you want to run a 5k, 10k or marathon, set a date and enter a race. Or, set yourself a goal of exercising x number of times a week.
If you want to lose weight, but ultimately know that money is more of a motivator, put £x in a jar for every pound lost then make sure you know what you’re going to buy.
“Sorting out my finances” isn’t tangible, instead, set yourself a specific budget plan.
“Get a new job” may be measureable but ultimately a lot of things out of your control, instead, set the goal of applying for x number of jobs per week or make sure you get feedback from all job interviews attended.
Being honest and being positive are qualities that will help you makes goals and stick to them. So even if things haven’t gone too well so far this year, pick yourself up, try again! Good luck!