Around this time of year, many are thinking about how to start over and do things differently. It is common knowledge that the majority of us won’t stick to our New Year’s resolutions. After all, what on Earth would make us think that we can all of a sudden change our bad habits and turn our lives around just because the date has changed? Maybe we should start this year off by making a new resolution: To hold on to and attain our New Year’s resolutions. Here’s how to do it.
No 1.: Be specific
It is important to specifically define your New Year’s resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, make sure you know exactly how much weight you want to lose. Consider whether you’re more interested in losing pounds or inches and remember to decide on exactly how many you want to lose. If you just say, “I want to lose weight,” there’s no telling where you will be in four to five months. If you tell yourself, “I want to lose fifteen pounds by July,” you will have a better chance of staying on track because you know exactly how much weight you want to lose and in what time frame. By being more specific about what you want, you’ll be more inclined to find a way to make sure you’re achieving your goal.
No 2.: Put it in writing
Writing down your New Year’s resolution is a very important step. You should post it in an area where you spend a lot of time. Don’t let yourself forget about it. Get creative and send yourself reminders. You can do this by programming your cell phone or Palm Pilot with a reminder a few times each week. You can also remind yourself by writing about your New Year’s resolution in an online journal, or even by sending yourself postcards several times a month. It may seem silly, but if the idea is in your face enough, it will help you stay on track.
No 3.: Make your plan manageable
Many times when trying to achieve goals, people get overburdened by the amount of work involved. It is important to remember that goals aren’t reached overnight. If your resolution, for instance, is deciding on a major, you should make a plan that involves steps such as taking a trip to the Career Center, researching different career fields one by one and narrowing down your choices. After you know the steps to your goal, you can then give them each a time limit. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Make sure when you make a plan, you are taking things one step at a time.
No 4.: Accept the possibility of setbacks
From the time you decide on your New Year’s resolution, acknowledge that there will be setbacks. In life, things come up that aren’t in our control. Sometimes we have to bend a little and spend more time on things we don’t necessarily want to be spending our time on. If something comes up while you are in the midst of working hard towards achieving your goal, don’t beat yourself up over it. Don’t stress out if you missed a day of exercise, or if you fell behind in creating your resume. If you encounter distractions, just roll with the punches and get back on track as soon as possible. If you let one minor road bump throw you off track, you might as well have never started.
No 5.: Reward yourself
Positive reinforcement has its benefits. If you give yourself a treat now and then for working so diligently, you will be less likely to lose track of your goal. Buying yourself a pair of shoes or allowing yourself that weekend getaway is a good way of keeping your spirits up about sticking with your New Year’s resolution. The best part about this is that the rewards are completely up to you, so you will know what works best to keep you going.Remember that your New Year’s resolution is important to you. You wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of making yourself a promise if you didn’t truly have the desire to change or improve something in your life. Not taking your New Year’s resolution too lightly will more than likely garner results. Like any other commitment, a New Year’s resolution is going to involve some amount of work and focus on your behalf. If you can understand and respect that fact then you shouldn’t have any problem achieving your goal.