Many newlyweds start thinking about their New Year’s Resolution in days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. People come up with all kinds of things (i.e. to lose weight, quit smoking, organize their lives, take a dance lesson, earn a degree, etc.). These are all really good things to do to help become a healthier, happier you; so why do many of the people who pledge to do them fail?
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, led a study to figure out just that. He and his team asked 700 people about their strategies for achieving New Year resolutions. Their goals ranged from losing weight or giving up smoking to gaining a qualification or starting a better relationship. Of the 78% who failed, many had focused on the downside of not achieving the goals; they had suppressed their cravings, fantasized about being successful, and adopted a role model or relied on willpower alone (Source: guardian.co.uk).
Apparently, these tactics simply don’t work. So, what should you do if you really want to pick a goal and stick to it?
Break Your Ultimate Goal Up Into Smaller Steps: For example, if you plan to quit smoking; don’t do it cold-turkey. Try limiting the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day and take one away as you feel comfortable. You are more likely to stick with it, if you move at your own realistic pace.
Tell a Friend about Your Goal: Sharing your goals with friends or family will help you stay motivated to reach them (i.e. joining a gym with someone else and meeting to workout together will keep you on track).
Focus on Benefits of Success: Spend your time and energy focusing on the benefits of what your hard work will do for you rather than the fact that you might fail. Staying positive is motivating, not to mention a healthier way to live your life.
Keep a Journal: Write down your plan in a notebook or diary and keep track of what you do each day. This is a visual reminder of where you started and how far you have come since you decided to change your life.
Don’t get caught up into thinking that if you don’t start on January 1st that you have to wait a whole year to start. When you are ambitious and ready to make a change in you life, do it! Forgive yourself for setbacks and get right back on track. You’ll look back when you reach your goal and realize you can do anything you put your mind to. Best of luck and Happy New Year!
What’s your New Year’s Resolution this year? Do you have a plan to help you reach your goal? Let us know if you used any of these tips and how they helped you stay motivated to reach your ultimate goal.