A New Year’s resolution is a tradition in which we look back over the last year, reflect on what has happened and use it an opportunity for the new year to spark a positive change in our lives – whether it is to learn a new skill, improve finances or be more active in our health and fitness.
Despite the eagerness for change that comes with January 1st, once the remaining festive glitter has been hoovered up and the party balloons from New Year’s Eve have completely deflated, many of us struggle to make good on our plans. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. Do they really work, and if so, how do we follow through with our New Year’s resolutions?
Stay positive – it is likely your resolutions will focus on areas that you feel need ‘improvement’, this progress may be slow so don’t forget to find a small way to celebrate when there is improvement, big or small! This should be a positive change in your life, not a punishment.
Be realistic – try not to make big or quick changes, it is more likely to be sustainable if it is gradual. By setting an unattainable goal you are already setting yourself up for failure, we don’t want that! Start slow and steady and if you see improvement quicker than you thought you can always adjust your goals further down the line.
Allow room for error! – we are only human after all, if you find yourself slipping remember that each day is a new day. There are 365 days to work on your goal, a slip up here and there does not make you a failure.
Set a goal that is for you – these goals should not be coerced by a spouse, family member, manager or because of peer pressure. You should only set a resolution that aligns with yourgoals, yourpriorities, yourdreams, or youraspirations. A New Year’s resolution should be something that has value or benefit for you, so don’t let anyone else decide. Motivation is what makes the resolutions possible – it is hard to be motivated when it wasn’t a goal you set for yourself!
Share your resolutions with loved ones – if you set a goal and no one knows about it, it is easy to forget or ignore it. By giving yourself a bit of accountability, you are more likely to want to stay on track. Tell those around you that you trust, and who will give you kind words of encouragement. It is also helpful to find people with similar goals so that you can motivate each other.