New Year’s Resolutions 101
Promises of a fresh start come with every New Year that passes. It’s this sense of being able to turn over a new leaf that leads to many people to make New Year resolutions, where they resolve to change something for the year ahead. Common New Year resolutions include weight loss, exercise, spending more time with family or quitting unhealthy habits. But, what happens to these goals and good intentions after January?
Some sources suggest that up to 80% of all New Year resolutions fail and that the majority of these stall by February. With such good intentions to live better each New Year, what leads to these goals not working out? How can you stick with your resolutions all year around? This article will explore some strategies for keeping your New Year resolutions in February and beyond.
Why Do We Struggle to Keep New Year’s Resolutions?
New Year’s resolutions may fail for a number of reasons:
- One common cause of not sticking to our goal is having taken on too much to start with.
- Another obstacle that occurs is giving up when we encounter a setback
- Sometimes we don’t have the social support we need around us to stick to our resolutions.
- Lack of time, planning and preparation can be other factors that lead us to throw in the towel early.
- Furthermore, we often expect our New Year’s resolutions need to be kept perfectly so if we miss the gym once then we stop going altogether.
However, it’s possible to achieve our goals by learning some techniques and strategies to keep us on track. Keep reading to learn some practical tips for maintaining your New Year’s resolutions (like “making myself a better person!”)
Top Tips For Maintaining New Year’s Resolutions:
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. An example of a SMART goal would be wanting to run a half-marathon by this time next year. The plan might be starting to walk 5km every other day in the first week, walk and run 5km every other day in the second week, run 5km every other day in the third week, and so on. Making goals SMART gives them a focus rather than something like ‘I want to get better at running’ and they let you know you’re on track to achieve them which is motivating.
You can hold yourself accountable for achieving your resolutions. However, it can be even more effective if you share the process with someone else who can hold you accountable too. Having a support network in place makes it more likely that you’ll reach your goal. You could ask a friend or family member to join you in your resolution so you can motivate each other or you could seek support from an online forum of like-minded people. Having someone to share the experience with can make working towards our goals more enjoyable too.
Reduce Bad Influences
It’s important to find social support to help us keep our resolution. However, it’s also necessary to cut back on the amount of time we spend with people who detract from our progress. If you’re keen to eat healthily but your colleagues keep offering you unhealthy snacks during your breaks then this can throw you off track. Let people around you who still engage in the unhealthy behaviours know that you’re trying to change. If they still push you to break your resolution then it might be about wondering if the relationship is a positive one for you.
Remind Yourself of Your ‘Why’
When we first start trying to reach a goal or stay consistent with a resolution our motivation is usually high. However, as time goes on we might start to procrastinate more and lose focus. This lack of focus can make us more likely to quit. Try to remind yourself regularly why you’re doing what you’re doing. Perhaps you’re losing weight so you can be more active for your children. Maybe you’re exercising more to give yourself more energy. Whatever the reason is that you started your goal, don’t lose sight of it. You could write down what your initial motivation for making your resolution was and review it regularly.
The path to achieving our goals rarely runs smoothly. It’s normal to encounter obstacles along the way. One way to manage challenges that crop up is to stay flexible with our resolutions. If you set out to go to the gym every Sunday and you miss a Sunday it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Try to see setbacks as something to overcome rather than as being the end of the road for your resolution. Learn from whatever you’ve found challenging and brainstorm strategies to overcome it (for instance, setting an alarm on a Sunday or changing your gym day to a Saturday). Let yourself adapt to obstacles rather than being defeated by them.
Be Patient and Kind
It takes time for new activities to become a habit. Be patient with yourself as you build your resolution into your life. Encourage yourself kindly to stick to your goal orientated behaviours each day. You could practice talking with yourself like you’d talk to a friend so that you celebrate your successes rather than criticise yourself for the times things haven’t gone to plan. It can help to track your progress too, as a way to remind yourself that you are moving forward even if it feels like slow sometimes. Another tip can be to reward yourself for your achievements with something that doesn’t contradict your resolution.
Commit For 24 Hours
Don’t worry if you do fall off track with your goal. When motivation wanes, decide to commit to your resolution for just 24 hours. When the 24 hours ends, recommit for another 24 hours. Over time, the blocks of 24 hours will build up into a habit. You’ll be back on the path to achieving your goals soon. Let your support group what you’re doing. Check in with them each day to report on how things have gone. You could also try keeping a resolution journal each day as a way to monitor how you’re doing and record your successes.
How Can Online-Therapy.com Help Maintain Your Resolutions?
If you’ve tried some of these strategies previously and would like to explore sticking with your goals and resolutions further then Online-Therapy.com can help. By signing up with our program you can chose a therapist who will work with you to develop a personalised toolkit to support you with the changes you want to make and to help you to create a happier year ahead. You can choose to have your therapy sessions by video, phone or text chat (couple counselling will be video only), making Online-Therapy.com a flexible and convenient option.
At Online-Therapy.com we offer an integrated and holistic package to enable you to feel at your best. Our approach includes regular sessions with your chosen therapist, unlimited messaging and worksheet support, journaling and yoga. This ongoing support means that you have the daily expert guidance you need to make progress with keeping your New Year’s resolutions in February and beyond, as soon as you sign up.
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