Whether you choose to make New Year resolutions or not, every January feels like a new beginning, ripe with possibility and opportunity.
But now that the mayhem of New Year’s Eve has faded and the Christmas spirit has waned, how do you seize the momentum of the new year and take positive steps towards the 2019 life you want to lead? And how do you keep promises you have made yourself?
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind if you want to shake things up a little in 2019.
1. Be specific
If you are making a new year’s resolution, be specifc and simple in outlining what you want to do.
If you want to get fit, outline how. For example, you could start with ‘walk to the end of the street and back each day.’ Expand with mini-goals, dates/times in which you aim to accomplish each of them. For example, by week 4, walking up the street each day could become, ‘walking around the block’, and eventually increase to ‘walking around my neighborhood for 30 minutes a day’.
If you want to save money, determine how much you will put aside each week or month and identify the real changes in behavior you’ll make to get there, whether that means skipping your afternoon latte or carpooling to save on fuel costs.
2. Make you goals realistic
Keep your goals small and simple. The more achievable they are, the more likely you are to keep them. The momentum you build from simply creating a new, achievable habit (like walking or saving) is the best foundation on which you can take your new lifestyle/habit to previously uncontemplated heights.
So, it doesn’t matter how far you walk at the start, the important thing is to prove to yourself that you can build the habit of walking, and once you have done that, then you can increase the time/distance you walk.
3. Make your goal public
We don’t mean to plaster your plans on social media, but once you’ve set your goal, share your decision to change with friends and family who can offer support when you’re wavering and encouragement when you’re doing well. In general, public commitments are more successful than private decisions.
4. Track your progress
Record or chart progress on your calendar or diary – preferably something you use each day – so you have a visual reminder of your achievements.
Research indicates that ‘self-monitoring’ increases the probability of keeping your resolutions.
5. Be kind to yourself
The most important thing in any lifestyle change is self-awareness and self-compassion. Simply having a resolution to change habits to improve your health or lifestyle is a great first step.
Kindness is the engine that drives us to keep trying even after we fall short of our goals. No-one is perfect – we are all awesome in our own way. So when you make and inevitably break your resolution, instead of beating yourself up and then giving up, try being kind to yourself. In the long run you’ll be more likely to succeed.
You deserve to make 2019 your best year yet, so have a good think about what you want to do, take a deep breath, and go do it. At your pace, on your terms.
You know you can do it, and so do we.
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