How to stay on track with your New Year's resolutions
Research carried out by the University of Scranton (USA) found that of the US citizens sampled, 45% made New Year’s resolutions but only 8% of those actually achieved them.
So what happens? You know what you want, you know it is important to you, you sort of know what to do, but the stats say that you probably won’t stick to it, and by the time January 1st 2017 rolls around you’ll be groundhogging.
So, want to know how to how to keep those resolutions, make permanent changes and achieve your goals? Read on…
Step one: take a moment to get to know yourself
I would suggest taking a look at your values and what is important to you. When you create goals or resolutions they need to be lined up with your values. If you value creativity and spontaneity, then you will not be inspired to work towards obtaining an office job, working nine to five every day of the week. Too many people aspire to things that they actually would hate to have. Don’t bother with goals that don’t inspire you, or are what other people want you to do – you will not achieve these types of goals because you will have no motivation to pursue them when the going gets tough. Ask yourself "what is it about this that will make me happy?"
Step two: define what you want to achieve and create a positive goal
Make it simple and specific. State what you want - not what you don’t want, this gives your brain a positive focus of attention. For example, don’t say you want to lose weight in 2016, state exactly your target weight, then work out what you need to lose in order to achieve that target weight. You have to be able to measure your progress and achievement, otherwise how will you know when you have been successful? Ask yourself: how will I know when I have achieved this, what will have changed?
Step three: decide on the timeframe for achieving this goal
A goal without a deadline is just wishful thinking. Make it realistic but push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You need an end point and also steps along the way, particularly if the goal will need some months to achieve.
Step four: make it powerful
Write this goal down, create a vision board around the goal, draw pictures, make it visual. Put this goal where you can see it, maybe a screensaver on your phone, or stick it on your bedroom mirror. If you find it useful, tell someone about it. The more obvious and integral this goal is to your life, the more your brain will help you work towards it.
Step five: be consistent, don’t give up
Don’t view a setback as an indication that you need to abandon the whole process. Take a moment, work out what happened and why, and then decide on what you need to do in order to get back on track. ‘All or nothing’ thinking is not the way forward. You need to be tenacious and consistent. You wouldn't give all your money away just because you lost £5 out of your pocket!
Step six: celebrate!
When you get to where you want to be, celebrate! So often in life we go crashing through and onto the next project or job and fail to recognise our success. Doing that simply means that we only ever pay attention when we fail; our thinking becomes wonky and we become overly critical of ourselves. Recognise your achievement and reward all your hard work.
Work out now how you are going to sustain your success. A sustainable lifestyle, helpful thinking habits and doing habits will lead to increased happiness and reduced stress and anxiety.
There are no guarantees in life, sometimes things get in the way of the best laid plans. Sometimes we need to change direction, or go round obstacles. That’s okay, but don’t lose your dreams. I believe in you.
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