“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them” – Benjamin Franklin
Change can sometimes be very daunting, especially when it comes to sticking to a resolution you have decided upon yourself. We don’t always adjust well to change, and it can be challenging and stressful to keep up willpower or reach targets we set ourselves. It can also be very distressing when we fail, so here we offer all the help we can to assist your achievement, and give advice on what to do when things don’t quite go to plan…
Top Four resolutions (source: University of Washington):
- Increase exercise
- Be more conscientious about work or school
- Develop better eating habits
- Stop smoking, drinking, or using drugs (including caffeine)
Tips for Sticking to your Goals:
Be Realistic – When setting yourself a resolution, you have to be realistic. You are only human, and trying to achieve something completely out of reach will no doubt put you under a lot of stress and even affect your esteem. Start small if you can, and increase your targets if all goes well! It is great to dream and have a vision of where you want to be eventually, but break it down; goal at 3 months, goal at six months, at nine, and finally at a year.
Reward Yourself – Positive reinforcement, the giving of rewards when things go well, will encourage you to succeed time and time again, and makes it easier on you to accept the changes you are undergoing.
DO NOT punish yourself – this can have a negative effect and make you feel like a failure. Learn to forgive yourself.
Talk to Others – Getting support and encouragement from those around you can greatly improve your success with a resolution. They might even join in, which can increase your performance – e.g. going for a morning run twice a week, or cutting down on how much you smoke. Chances are others will want these changes too, and so you can support and motivate each other.
Track Your Progress – Keep an eye on how you’re doing. This can increase your motivation, as you’ll see how well you’re doing, or which areas you need to improve. It is important to do this so that your progress and the changes you are going through are clearly set out in your mind.
Good luck, and stay positive. This isn’t the be all and end all of making the changes that you want in life. A new year is a fresh start in many ways, not just resolutions. And if you’re having trouble thinking of resolutions, look back over last year and think of things you might want to have changed or done differently if you had the opportunity. Don’t regret what’s in the past – use it to create yourself a better future.