How to make New Years resolutions and stick to them
Most of us use the New Year as a kind of fresh start both mentally and physically, whereby we choose to attempt to get ourselves closer to the ideal of who and what we want to become. A real out with the old and in with the new feeling tends to be universal at this time of year.
A great question to ask yourself is:
In order for 2014 to be really and truly happy for me, what would need to be different or better?
So whether you want to spend 2014:
- Getting fit and losing weight.
- Cutting out addictions.
- Stopping smoking.
- Controlling drinking habits.
- Stopping gambling.
- Any other unhealthy habits of behaviour.
Or improving your life by:
- Creating a work life balance - so you can spend more time with the family and on hobbies.
- Finding love.
- Getting organised.
- Taking up a hobby.
- Making new friends.
- Getting a better job or changing career.
- Paying off debts / credit cards or generally getting your finances straight.
- Getting more sleep or curing insomnia.
- Resolving a health issue.
- Achieving any other motivating goal that you know is really important to your well-being, such as getting over a fear, or freeing yourself up from resentment or anger.
The best plan of action is to write down all of your New Years Resolutions using a SMART Target Framework.
SMART is an Acronym for:
Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. This simple technique will greatly help you to clarify your resolutions, and maintain them beyond the first few weeks of January.
Lets look at this acronym in more detail:
Specific: What exactly is your resolution? (For the purpose of this example we shall look at losing weight but you can use the same format with all of your resolutions).
Making it more specific will help you to focus much more on what it is you really want, so your resolution might sound something like,
'I want to lose 2 stone and fit into a dress or trouser size less'.
Measurable: How are you going to measure your progress to keep you on track? So following our weight loss resolution it might sound something like this, 'I am going to measure my progress by ensuring that I lose at least 2lb every week, as well as measure my general fitness by monitoring and increasing my exercise regime'. So for example walking the same distance in a faster time every Monday Wednesday and Friday, and measuring my progress in chart form by way of a scale. For weight loss of course you can also use a tape 'measure'.
Achievable: The question to ask yourself here is, 'is this resolution within my capabilities right now, or what do I need to change in order to make it so? Do I have the right mind set, the right attitude and financial capacity to make it happen right now? Perhaps for example to achieve your weight loss you need to change the way you shop for food, or cook your food. Perhaps you need to simply change your attitude to how large a portion size of food you put on your plate. Perhaps it is your emotional relationship with food that you need to change, for example not turning to food when you are stressed, bored or tired for example. These kind of thought processes can follow the same lines whatever your resolution. Remember if you remove all the obstacles your resolution immediately becomes much more achievable.
Realistic: So following on with our weight loss resolution, when was the last time you were at your goal weight? If it was 15 or 20 years ago the chances are less that you will get back down to that weight. I say to my clients, 'Aim high but keep your resolution realistic'. This means being really honest with yourself, so asking yourself, 'What is going to help me achieve my resolution? What is going to possibly get in the way or hold me back?'
Time Bound: This is always a really useful way of making resolutions concrete, so when do you want to achieve this resolution by. Perhaps it is an instant one such as stopping smoking from January 1st, but in order to stick to this you may need to address your relationship with cigarettes e.g. your stress habits that caused you to turn to cigarettes in the first place, so your secondary resolution would be to deal with stress more effectively by a certain time period and consider getting support with this if you need to.
With all resolutions its important to be straight with yourself, by asking yourself 'What is really stopping me from achieving this resolution?' Often it is about changing our attitude mentally as well as physically.
For resolutions to work they have to have a real tangible value to you, so ask yourself 'Why do I really want this, what's its value to me, what will it get me?'
Here are some of my personal tips:
- Be willing to take action, with 100% Intention that you are going to make it happen - 99% Is simply not good enough!
- Be willing to take full responsibility for what you are setting out to achieve.
- Be willing to hold yourself accountable for your own actions and inaction.
- Be willing to move out of your comfort zone and learn to maintain a different mental attitude and belief.
The good news is a qualified Hypnotherapist will be able to support you with all of your resolutions, right through to fruition, so don't go it alone this year and end up letting yourself down again. Make 2014 the year to make changes and stick to them with professional support!
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