New Year’s resolutions have been around, in one form or another, for around 4,000 years and are said to have started with the Babylonians who made promises to the Gods at New Year.
Today the tradition is still going strong with, on average, 1 in 5 of us set to make a new year’s resolution according to YouGov statistics. Surprisingly, however, it was found that only 27% of those making resolutions managed to keep to them in 2017. In this article we will look at some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions and give some hints and tips as to how you can keep them.
Most common Resolutions
According to YouGov the most popular resolutions at the end of 2018 were:
1) Exercise more
2) Eat better
3) Save Money
4) Lose weight
5) Reduce Stress
6) Stick to a budget
7) Get more sleep
8) Keep in touch
9) Learn a new skill
10) Travel more
Other ones that come up are to quit smoking and to drink less. I’m sure we can all relate to many of these and perhaps you will be making one of these your own personal goal for 2020. The question, however, is how on earth do we achieve this goal that we have set?
Setting the right Goal
According to Prospect Magazine the reason we fail at keeping our resolutions isn’t because we are lazy or not committed but because we are going about the process incorrectly. The first thing to get right is why are we setting this goal. Why do you want to lose weight or stop smoking or save more money? Are you losing weight because others think you should or are you doing it for yourself? It was found that when the reason for a change was external, people were less likely to stick to it. The second issue the y found, was that the goals were too vague. Reduce weight or save money are nowhere near specific enough so you have no real targets to aim for. Be much more specific in your goals: I want to lose two Stones in 12 months is much more specific and will then allow you to set monthly goals and break it down into bite size chunks. Finally, make the goal realistic. Saying you want to lose 5 stones in 2 months or save £5,000 in 6 months when you only have £250 spare cash every month is simply unrealistic.
By understanding why you want a particular goal and setting a very specific but realistic goal you are much more likely to keep to it as you have a clear incentive and a clear, achievable target.
Make A Plan
Once you have your goal chosen and specified, plan how you are going to achieve it. Set yourself short term goals which, when combined will help you reach you longer term goal. If you want to run a marathon at the end of the year, you won’t be running 26 miles in January. Why not set a simple goal like going to the gym twice a week and working out for 30 mins each time? After two weeks set that to an hour each time and gradually build it up week by week with more time and more visits.
Don’t Berate yourself
No matter what you do, there will be times when you just don’t feel like going to the gym, or you fall off the dieting wagon. This is perfectly normal behaviour. Everyone will have a slight set back. When this happens, according to Psych Central, you need to not use that as an excuse to give up. Look back at your achievements and use them to push yourself on. You know you can go 2 weeks with no wine so set yourself another goal for the next two weeks. So, forgive yourself your human lapse, set a new goal and start again.
Don’t forget to set yourself rewards for the times when you meet your goals. You set the goal to go to the gym twice a week for 30 mins each time for two weeks and you achieved that. What is your reward for hitting that target? You need to give yourself things to look forward to so that success is incentivised, but don’t put your goals in danger. If you’re dieting don’t treat yourself with a large pizza as this is counterproductive. Choose a neutral treat for yourself but something that you want.
It is hard to self-motivate at the best of times never mind when starting a new year and a new goal. Get your friends and family on board to help support you through your journey. Maybe they will join you or simply send you encouragement when you are feeling down or praise when you hit a goal. Strong support is a sure fire way to help you meet your goals according to RealBuzz.
Track your progress
There is an App for pretty much everything these days so why not dig out a suitable App and use it to track your progress. By doing this you will be able to see just how far you have come and what progress you have made. This can be a real motivator, especially on those days when you really don’t want to carry on or when you have been naughty and reverted back to old habits.
Most importantly make it fun. Whatever you do, however long you set yourself to do it, have fun doing it. Want to eat more healthily? Why not experiment with various flavours or enrol on a course for budding chefs? Want to exercise more? Join a class and meet new people. The more fun you can make it the more you are likely to achieve your goals.
New Year’s resolutions can make a big difference to those who keep them. By following these simple tips you will increase your chance of success and make 2020 that pivotal year for yourself.