We sit down and reflect on the year that passed and set our New Year’s resolutions, maybe with a few that have rolled over from the year before—oops. A New Year is a perfect time to turn over a new leaf; however, it can be the hardest time to start fresh when it is in the middle of vacation season.
Instead of setting yourself up for failure by vowing to turn your entire life around, here are six steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.
- Just Pick One Thing
If you want to change your life or lifestyle, don’t try and tackle it all at once. Instead, begin by picking one area of your life to change. Once you’ve successfully made one change, go ahead and make another change after a month or so. If you were 40 kilograms overweight and your aim is to run a marathon, it would be more effective to set a goal to walk five times a week. Then after a month, run in short bursts, to then get to constant running by March or April. This is much more likely to get you running a marathon by the end of the year, and the month-to-month achievements will provide you with a sense of gratification. Little changes will add up over time, and you’ll end up with significant changes in your life after a year or two.
- Plan Ahead
Whatever it is you are aiming to do, granted somebody else has tried and succeeded before you. Utilise others prior knowledge and experience and get yourself prepared and ready to make the necessary changes. If you do enough research, you should even be looking forward to making the change. If you were taking up running, make sure you have the appropriate shoes, clothes and music to keep you motivated.
- Anticipate Problems
If changing habits were easy, we would all function at our optimal capacity. There will be problems, so make a list of what they will be. If you can anticipate problems, you will be better prepared to work out ways to cope with them.
- Pick a Start Date
New Year’s Day often proceeds a late night which can often leave you feeling worse for wear. You don’t have to start on the first of January. Pick a day where you know you will be well-rested, enthusiastic and feeling positive. On the day, go for it 100%. This is your first step in the right direction.
- Accept Failure
If you do fail and miss a walk, make a note of the trigger that caused this setback and learn from them. If you know alcohol makes you lethargic the following day, then prepare around events. Arrange your week, so the next morning after an event is a rest day. Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying, and you will succeed.
- Plan Rewards
Small rewards are a great encouragement to keep you doing during the hard adjustment period. Once a week you could reward yourself with whatever makes you tick, whether it be a magazine, a trip to the movies, or a night in with take-out. As you get going, the rewards can spread out and at the end of the year give yourself an anniversary reward—something you will look forward to, because you deserve it and have earned it.
It is the start of a new decade, and I’m sure we all have a lot we want to work towards and achieve. We hope that these six steps will help guide you so that when you are sitting down this time next year, you are incredibly proud of what you have achieved in 2020 and excited for what is waiting in the year ahead.