Can you imagine how many New Year’s resolutions are made each year? The answer is probably billions but sadly very few of them are kept. We all start a new year full of hope and renewed energy, in part because we have just has the privilege of a few days off work, but as soon as the reality of our normal routines returns our resolve flies out the window. So how do you succeed where so many others have failed and achieve your goals?
The first thing to consider is how realistic your resolution actually is. If you are trying to quit smoking or lose weight then you are on the right track but deciding to get rich quick or become famous might be more of an issue. Set goals for achievements that are reasonable and totally within your own control, not things which are reliant on others or an element of good fortune or you have a very high chance of being disappointed.
Understand Your Goals
It sounds obvious but if you are going to have the will power to keep to your resolve you must understand why you are so desperate to try. Write down all of the reasons why you need to do what you are doing and what the benefits of success will be. Record all of the negatives of your current situation as well and use your notes to inspire you when you need motivation. Make a clear statement of exactly what you want to achieve and by when. It is all too easy to relax your expectations as time passes and so a clear goal is essential for success. Consider any assistance or equipment you may need to carry out your resolution and make sure you have everything in place before you start. If you are trying to quit smoking purchase the e-cigarettes or patches, if you are attempting to lose weight join a gym or invest in exercise equipment ahead of the game. If you do not do this, not having the help in place will just become an excuse. The fact that you have invested money in your efforts can act as a spur to keep going.
Keep a Diary
Every day you should write down what efforts you have made towards your goal, what you think you have achieved and what signs of progress have manifested themselves as a result. Record how many times you wanted to smoke but didn’t, how much exercise you took or when you ate a salad instead of a burger. Write down how you feel and decide what you can do to eliminate negative thoughts. Regularly consult your diary and your original goals to remind yourself of your progress and to push you forward if you are falling behind your targets. Accept that some weeks your progress will be more impressive than in others. The diary and a review of your goals will give you an overall picture of what you are doing rather than a snapshot.
Give yourself a little reward every time you reach a target. Create a list of things you want to do or places you want to go and do one of these things as a reward each time you deserve one. Having something to look forward to will drive you on and the reward will raise your spirits and encourage you to continue.
Make a Plan
Before you start, make a plan of exactly how you are going to action your resolution, what your weekly and monthly progress should be and how you are going to manage your time. It will be difficult to know if you are on track if you have set no targets and if you have only set one overall target it will be difficult to keep motivated week by week. Being busy is not an excuse! You know what your commitments are so make a plan that allows for them and set time aside for your campaign. Being busy will help you to quit smoking but may be an obstacle to exercising or healthy eating, so plan for this. Establish times each week when you will use your exercise equipment or prepare healthy food and drop everything else for that period of time. Do not allow yourself to become distracted or pushed off track.
Involve Your Friends and Family
Trying to achieve something on your own is tough. Let all of the people close to you know what you are trying to do and enlist their support. The ideal situation would be to find someone with the same goal and work together with them but if this is not possible just getting regular encouragement can help no end. If you are giving up smoking ask people not to smoke around you, if you are trying to lose weight ask your friends to eat healthily with you and play some sport when they can.
Avoid Tricky Situations
We all know when we are most likely to want to smoke, eat something we shouldn’t or get tired and lazy. The best course of action is to avoid situations that lead to temptation. Plan your day so that you can avoid danger points and enlist the cooperation of others in not putting temptation in your way. If you never saw another cream cake you would never eat one!
Be a Winner
Achieving something great is never easy but whatever it is you want to do you can get there as long as you remain focused and do not allow yourself to get knocked off track. Keep your eye on the prize and believe in yourself and the progress you are making and you will win in the end.
Sally Stacey writes for a wide variety of blogs and websites, is a company owner and lover of sports. Read more about Sally on her Google+ profile.