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How to keep a New Year's resolution

This page posted 7th December 2017

Ah, New Year’s resolutions, easy to make, hard to keep. In fact, despite making a New Year’s resolution every year, I don’t think I have ever kept one! The biggest problem with this comes the following year, when making the same resolution again and   feeling a sense of disappointment at not having achieved it the year before. Yet somehow, I don’t think I’m alone.
Luckily, for those of you who are really serious about making 2014 the year to achieve, here are some hints and tips that will give you the best chance of staying true to your resolution next year:

Be really specific

Instead of setting a broad goal like ‘I want to overcome my social anxiety’, think of something more specific and tangible such as ‘I want to go out for dinner with friends once a month’.
Cater goals to your needs

Rather than focusing on what other people are planning to improve on, think of something that is really important to you specifically. When doing this, be realistic and make sure your goal is one you feel you have a good chance of attaining.
Create weekly or monthly goals

The resolution itself will be the overall goal, but also consider making smaller goals each week or month in order to keep track of your progress and stay motivated throughout the year. Otherwise you may be amongst the millions of other people who have given up on their resolution in February.
Write down your resolution and goals

This one is important! Once you have decided on your resolution make the most of your motivation while it lasts and write down your goals. Motivation can be fleeting and it may very well disappear in mid-January. However, writing things down is a great way to remind yourself of what you want to achieve and will keep you focused on your goal all year round.
Be flexible

Ideally we would all like to make a goal, set a time frame for that goal and then achieve it without a hitch.  Unfortunately, some things can take much longer than anticipated so try not to beat yourself up if your resolution is progressing slower than you would have liked. Be willing to alter your goals slightly to fit in with the pace that things are naturally occurring. Of course this also applies if you are accomplishing even more than you’d hoped, in which case you can set yourself more challenging objectives.
Tell your friends and family

Make those around you aware of your plan because getting the support of others can make achieving your resolution much easier. Best of all, family and friends will be more than happy to provide invaluable encouragement when you are feeling particularly unmotivated.     
Record your progress

By keeping a record of what you have accomplished it becomes clear what you can accomplish in a year. This can help keep you motivated with your current goals and may encourage you to set more in future years. It can also be useful if you start to feel like nothing much is changing, because your record keeping will often prove you wrong!   
Make it fun

New Year’s resolution is meant to be a way of improving our lives, not making us feel guilty or disappointed. Be sure to set goals that will be challenging but not unbearable and be sure to scale down your ambitions if they start to seem over zealous. Finally, make sure you reward yourself every time you make progress. There is no point making a resolution if you don’t celebrate the successes.

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