The Holidays are over and it’s time we all got back to the reality of our daily lives. Chances are at some time in your life you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution- and broken it. I know I have. This year, stop the pattern of resolving to make change, and then not following through. Some of the most common resolutions are:
- Losing weight
- Paying off debt
- Saving money
- Getting a better job
- Getting in shape
- Eating better
- Quit drinking/smoking
- Reduce stress
- Take a trip
Every time I make a resolution, I always find it more effective when I write down my goals on paper and then break them down into small steps. For example, telling yourself to lose one pound a week can seem more attainable and less overwhelming than a more general statement such as “lose weight.” The attitude of “small change leads to big change” needs to be adapted. This could mean the difference between actually sticking to the resolutions and achieving success and giving up within a few weeks, which seems to happen more often.
Nine other steps to keeping a resolution are:
- Be realistic. Strive for a goal that is attainable. For example, instead of saying you will never eat a chocolate bar again tell yourself you can have one a month.
- Don’t put off working on your resolutions. Get started right away without making excuses. There’s always going to be difficult days, weeks and/or months. We need to learn how to be successful no matter what is going on around us.
- Have a plan on how to deal with temptation. My biggest temptation is finishing off my kids food. I find that having a bag of carrots on hand is helpful. It’s important to have some ideas on how to handle curves that will definitely be thrown your way. This could include calling a friend for support and encouragement, practicing positive thinking and positive self-talk.
- Don’t get discouraged. If you have a setback rethink your goals, work twice as hard the next day and keep going. Do the best you can and take it one day at a time. Forgiveness is important. You are human after all.
- Keep a list of your goals and check them off as you accomplish them. The process of checking them off can be very rewarding and will help keep you motivated.
- Reward yourself. This doesn’t mean that you should have 5 chocolate bars if your resolution is to lose weight. Instead, reward your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy, but that doesn’t contradict your goal. For example, if you’ve been sticking to your goal of eating better, treat yourself to a new top or a night out with a friend.
- Achieving a resolution takes time and is not an end in itself. Find a way to enjoy the process, instead of dreading it. For example if your goal is to get in shape but you dislike going to the gym, find a more enjoyable way to exercise- i.e. dancing to your favourite tunes, walking with a friend etc…
- Try and find someone who wants to accomplish the same resolution as you. It’s always helpful to have someone to talk to who can help keep you motivated and strong.
- Stick with it. Professionals say it takes about 21 days to create a new habit, such as eating better and 6 months for it to become a part of who you are.
Setting goals and executing them takes time, organization and good planning. If you have become unmotivated after just a few weeks, don’t let it get you down. Start over again at another time. January is such a popular time to make changes because so many of us think of it as a fresh start, a new beginning and a clean slate. But, if you’ve missed the boat on January first, don’t let that stop you. January 1st doesn’t have to be the only time to make a resolution. It’s never too late to make the decision to better ourselves, our lives and our families. Resolutions are year round! For more tips and ideas on how to make positive changes to your life, sign up for my newsletter at www.familysupport.net.