Every year, many of us make New Year's resolutions such as pledging to 'lose weight', 'be more present', 'get richer' or 'get happier'. Often, these resolutions are quickly forgotten or, worse, we berate ourselves for not achieving them.
Goal setting should be fun and healthy. It should not be something that adds extra unnecessary pressure and stress to our lives. If you do want to treat the New Year as a new beginning in one or more areas of your life, then follow these tips to make it more likely that you will keep your New Year's resolution:
Ambiguity can be a big stumbling block. Choosing specific, achievable goals will help you plan and accomplish them. For example, instead of saying 'take up running', you could say 'go for a 30 minute run three times a week'. This becomes a clear, measurable target that you can stick to.
Don't overdo it
Having too many resolutions is another common reason for being unable to keep them. It can become overwhelming and seem unachievable. Focusing on one small goal at a time is more likely to lead to success and fulfillment.
If your goal is leading to an outcome (such as 'run a half-marathon, lose 10lbs, or save up enough money for a holiday abroad) then start with small, sustainable steps and build up as you go. It takes time to change your habits, starting small will make it easier in the long-run. Don't expect to be able to run that half-marathon, be 10lbs lighter or pay for that holiday by February. Instead, work towards it little-by-little and day-by-day.
Do it together
If you struggle to make yourself accountable to yourself, then make yourself accountable to somebody else. Choose a like-minded friend or loved one and ask if they would like to come on this journey with you. The resolution doesn't have to be the same but the journey will be similar and you can support each other along the way.
Adapt, if needed
Sometimes, despite our best intentions, things just don't work out the way we planned. In these cases, we don't need to ditch the goal - instead we can change the plan. If something isn't working for you and it is becoming a chore, think again how you can make it fun and fit it in with your daily life. It may doing less but more often, it may be doing more but less often. Be flexible, be realistic and, most of all, be kind to yourself.