After a whirlwind of holiday parties and family get togethers, the month of January can feel a bit anticlimactic. Not to mention cold and dark.
But the start of 2019 is the perfect time to turn a new page, see it as a fresh start, and use it as an opportunity to work on bad habits and establish new routines. Making a New Year’s resolution can be a part of the process.
Here, in this first of two articles looking at new year goals and resolutions, are 5 ideas of ways to keep your 2019 resolution:
Choose a Specific and Realistic Goal.
Every year, millions of adults resolve to ‘lose weight’, or ‘get in shape’ during the next year. Instead of selecting such an ambiguous goal, focus on something more concrete that you can realistically set your sights on.
For example, commit to losing 10 pounds or running a half marathon. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal also gives the opportunity to plan exactly how you’re going to accomplish your goal over the course of the year.
Pick One Resolution
We all have a long list of potential New Year’s Resolutions, but picking just one allows you to really focus all of your energy on it rather than on a number of potentially different objectives.
Focusing on one behaviour at a time also removes the feeling of overwhelm and is more likely to lead to long-term success.
Plan for Success
Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal, and a bit of time spent thinking about how you will tackle a major behaviour change will be worth it.
Start by writing down your goal and make a list of things you might do to achieve it, as well as noting any obstacles that may stand in your way. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish and the difficulties you could face, you’ll be better prepared to stick to your resolution and overcome potential struggles.
Take Small Steps
Taking on too much too soon is a common reason for resolution failure. For example, dramatically cutting food intake, over doing the exercise, or radically altering your normal behaviour are almost guaranteed to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.
For example, if your goal is to run a 5K when you haven’t run since school, start out by going for a walk/jog 2 or 3 times a week. Or, if you’re trying to eat healthier, start by replacing some of you favourite junk food with more nutritious alternatives.
This may seem like a slow start, but each small change will make it so much easier to stick to your new habits over the long term.
Remember that Change is a Process
The unhealthy habits we try to change can have developed over years, so how can we expect ourselves to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months? It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals but remember that it’s playing the long game, and not a race to the finish. Once you’ve made the commitment to changing a behaviour, it’s something you’ll continue to work on for the rest of your life.
In my next article I’ll look at another 5 ways of helping you to keep your 2019 resolution.