“We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.”
Hillary DePiano, New Year’s Thieve
Patterns of behavior are very hard to change. We are more likely to achieve our resolutions and goals if we have the support and encouragement of others.
Many people who make a New Year’s Resolution fail to keep it. We are likely to have more success if we set small measurable goals rather than large, vague ones. The following ten steps* are a good resource for helping to make your resolutions obtainable.
- Keep your resolution simple – Don’t aim for a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. Focus on the most important goal.
- Choose carefully – Choose a goal you believe will have the greatest impact on your happiness, health, and self-fulfillment.
- Be realistic – Think about your past experience with making a resolution and don’t aim too high, ignoring reality. For example, do not resolve to save an unrealistic amount of money – that just sets you up to fail from the beginning.
- Create small portions – Break your larger goal down into smaller increments. This step is probably the most essential key for success.
- Plan a time-frame – Establish a timeline to facilitate success. You can easily track your short–term progress toward the ultimate goal.
- Make reminder notes – Write down the specific goal you have set for yourself. Make reminders of your goal and post them where you can see them daily. If your goal is to lose weight, post pictures of a slimmer you or the desired body shape you are aiming for. If you want to save money, post pictures of what you are saving for.
- Treat yourself – Give yourself a success reward when you reach a milestone. Be careful that the reward doesn’t put the achievement of your goal in danger. Create rewards that make you feel you’re on the way to success!
- Receive support – Ask a group of supportive friends or family members to help you get back on track if you start slipping. Be clear about what kind of support would be most helpful.
- Don’t give up! – It is inevitable that you will slip-up on occasion but do not let this be an excuse to quit. When you have a lapse, remind yourself of the reasons you made the resolution to begin with. Forgive yourself and say, “I’m starting again right now. I can do this.”
- Put yourself in charge and be patient – These changes are under your control. Others can advise and support but you must be the one to make the change. Having a sense of control over your life is necessary to stick with your goal. Over time your resolution will become easier as a new habit is formed.
* Collingwood, J. (2005). 10 Sure Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions, Psych Central.com
- Think of a resolution you made in the past that you failed to keep. What do you think prevented you from doing so? (List emotional as well as physical blocks)
- What do you think would have helped you keep the resolution?
- Make a new resolution now. (Be specific and detailed)
- List positive ways your partner can help you keep this resolution.