Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season.
Don’t set yourself up for failure in the new year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.
1. Pick just one thing
If you want to change your life or your lifestyle, don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.
Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can incorporate another after the first one is habit. By making small changes one after the other,you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.
Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail, like running a marathon if you’re so out of shape you get winded walking up the stairs. Resolve to walk every day instead. When you’ve got that habit down you can graduate to running in short bursts and gradually increasing distance from there.
2. Plan ahead
To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them.
Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject or do on online search. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running, yoga, or becoming vegan there are books and resources to help you prepare for t.
Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running, make sure you have the shoes, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with soundtracks at the ready. Then you have no excuses.
3. Anticipate problems
There will be problems, so make a list of what you think they’ll be. If you think about it enough, you’ll be able to anticipate problems that may arise on certain days or at certain times. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard to keep to your resolution, work out ways to cope with those problems as they inevitably come up.
4. Pick a start date
You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people.
Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work, and it can be better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge.
5. Go for it
On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down, you just need one phrase you can carry in your wallet, car, bedroom, bathroom, for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.
6. Accept failure
If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or fail to get up early in the morning, don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.
If you know alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day, cut back on it. Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.
7. Plan rewards
Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week to keep it going.
Decide what you want to do in the near year, plan how to get it and go for it.