The holiday season tends to be a time of over-indulgence, which is probably why so many people are inspired to make significant life changes by the time the new year rolls around. Whether you want to quit smoking, start eating as though you’d like to avoid a heart attack, get your spending habits under control, or take charge of your career, the new year seems like a great time to turn over a new leaf.
Unfortunately, regardless of how good your intentions and how strong your willpower, there’s a decent chance that by the time April showers are bringing May flowers, you’ve long forgotten about your New Year’s resolutions.
2018 can be different, though! Your New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be a flop; follow these few tips for making a New Year’s resolution and keeping it.
Just Pick One Thing
Yes, it’s tempting to go all in, giving your entire life a major overhaul. However, that’s a recipe for failure. Rather than deciding to lose 40 pounds, cut back on how much money your spending on coffee every week, eliminate every ounce of clutter from your living space and start writing to your Nanna weekly, tackle just one of those things. After all, if you are able to successfully create a healthy new habit or eliminate a bad one, there’s nothing that says you can’t then begin reaching for another goal. Remember: small changes are sustainable.
Don’t just plan to lose the holiday weight; come up with a specific course of action that will lead to the results you want. Don’t just say that you’re going to downsize your belongings; have a plan for what you’re going to keep, what you’re going to donate or toss, and how much you’d like to accomplish every week. Failing to plan is planning to fail, so when you’re deciding on a New Year’s resolution, get as specific as possible.
Have an Action Plan for When Problems Arise
When we give in to a bad habit, there’s usually a trigger. If you’re trying to overcome an unhealthy habit, such as overeating, smoking, yelling at your kids, or escaping into a mindless game on your smartphone, then you’ve probably noticed that there’s usually a trigger, be it stress, a certain time of day, or specific people in your life, that leads to failing to stick to your goal. While you may not always be able to avoid those triggers, you can have a plan for how to deal with them.
Embarking on a new journey can be intimidating, especially if you’re one of those people that makes –and fails to keep—the same New Year’s resolution every year. Rather than letting past mistakes discourage you, just go for it. Write down a simple mantra; for example, “I enjoy a smoke-free lifestyle,” “I eat to nourish my body,” or “I am calm and in control, even when those around me are not,” and keep it in your car, your wallet, or anywhere else that you will see it regularly. Forget about past mistakes and simply move forward.
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