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Sticking to your New Year’s resolution

As most of us know, it’s pretty difficult. In fact, a recent survey found an estimated 58 per cent failed to keep their New Year's resolutions, with 15% giving up in the first three months.

Ah, the famed New Year’s resolution – a promise of self-improvement. At the time, it seems like a great idea; the fairy of good fortune will arrive and wave its magic wand to provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence you need to reinvent yourself because you promised to turn a new page in the book of life.

If only it was that simple!

Hands up how many of you have made a New Year’s resolution and kept it? If you didn’t raise your hand, you’re not alone. As most of us know, it’s pretty difficult. In fact, a recent survey found an estimated 58 per cent failed to keep their New Year’s resolutions, with 15% giving up in the first three months.

Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail?

To put it simply, a number of reasons. Many just simply give up because their resolution gets dumped in the ‘too hard basket’. Let’s be honest … kicking back on the couch with a pizza and Netflix is a lot better (and easier) than pounding the pavement or sweating it out in the gym.

Others have bitten off more than they can chew. It’s wishful thinking to think  you’re going to go from an entry-level role to CEO in a year. Not impossible, but very unrealistic.

Vague resolutions don’t help either. ‘Get a better job’ or ‘save more money’ aren’t specific and they’re difficult to track.

This study measured why people break their New Year’s resolution.

  • I didn’t keep track of my progress: 25.23%
  • I made too many resolutions: 21.59%
  • I forgot about it: 14.77%
  • It was too unrealistic: 12.05%
  • Other reasons: 26.36%

Alright, enough of the negativity! We should be celebrating and encouraging people who want to improve themselves. If you’ve already given up (or are about to) on your New Year’s resolution, bear with us and keep reading … you might thank us later!

Start small

You’re not going to move mountains in the first week of the year. Big goals often require big changes; you might not have enough time to get everything you want done, or maybe have a lot of preparation to get up and running. Don’t get stuck doing nothing because you’re afraid you won’t do enough; start small and take incremental steps, which are much more achievable. As you begin to reach your small milestones, you’ll gain confidence and build momentum towards your resolution.

Set a SMART resolution

Chances are you’ve heard of the SMART acronym. Setting a SMART New Year’s resolution can help you decide if your goal is a good fit for you as it is, or if you need to revise to ensure it’s attainable. It will spell out the responsibility for a desired outcome and ensure there’s an action to take.

Example: I want to go on a holiday with my friend to Cambodia.

Specific: I want to go on a two-week holiday with my friend to Cambodia in November

Measurable: I will need $3000 based on flights, accommodation and living expenses

Attainable: Saving just under $300 a month until November is achievable

Realistic: Based on my income and budget, saving just under $300 a month is realistic

Timely: November is 11 months away. This means I will need to stick to my goal of saving just under $300 a month to meet my travel costs of $3000.

Don’t go it alone – tell others

While you don’t need to announce your resolution to your entire network, try telling your family and close friends. By verbalising your resolutions you make them real and you will likely feel accountable to not just yourself, but those around you. Your family and close friends are your best support system and not only will they encourage you, some of them may way to join you – two is better than one!

If you don’t have that kind of support network, social media allows you to join groups of people with similar resolutions. It’s possible that you’ll find inspiration from others working towards a similar goal, which helps keep you on motivated and on track to reach your target.

Technology is your friend!

Although some people are trying to break their addiction to all things digital, technology can actually be beneficial to achieving your resolution.

Kate James, a life coach and mindfulness teacher at Total Balance in Melbourne told the Sydney Morning Herald that apps play a key role in tracking progress.

“For a lot of people, seeing how for you’ve come can be very motivational … people will often drop their resolutions if all they see is where they’re failing,” she said.

Setbacks are OK

Everybody has their ups and down … we’re only human after all. If something doesn’t go to plan and you feel like you’re getting off track, don’t let yourself get discouraged and give up. Stay positive, acknowledge mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, pick yourself back up and move forward!

Have you achieved a New Year’s resolution? What did you do to achieve it? Please share your experience below!


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