Four months into the year, and many of us have probably already started slipping on our New Year’s resolutions. The Best You has come up with five tips to help you stay on track.
Being the self-bettering person that you are, you no doubt made a list of the areas in your life where you want to improve at the beginning of the year. But they say that life gets in the way, so while you may have had the best of intentions when you wrote “Lose 20lbs” on your list on 1 January, the truth is that in the last three months life has probably gotten in your way. Here’s how to get back on track:
- Make it public
No matter what your resolution was – to stop smoking, learn a new language, or lose weight, studies have proven that if you tell other people about your intentions, you are much more likely to succeed. If people know what your goal is, they will ask you on a regular basis how it is going, and nobody wants the embarrassment of having to say “I haven’t done anything about that yet.” So, tell your friends, tell your family, tell people you have just met for the first time. Become known as the person who is trying to stop smoking or whatever your resolution is. If it becomes part of your personality, it will be much more difficult to ignore it.
- Be reminded daily
This will be easier to do once you have made it part of your personality because other people will be reminding you, but it’s important to remind yourself as well. So if you have a whole list of resolutions, dust off that list that is probably languishing in the back of some notebook and put it somewhere you will see it every day. The best places for this are on your fridge or on your bathroom mirror. The problem with this tactic is that the list may become part of the scenery – just something else that you see every day and ignore, like that empty shampoo bottle you keep meaning to throw away, or that cheesy fridge magnet from your sister-in-law that says “Why try so hard to fit in when you are born to stand out?” So every couple of weeks, rewrite the list on a brightly coloured sheet of paper and replace the old one. That way you’ll keep seeing it, and rewriting it will help engrain the message in your mind.
- Take action
There’s no point in making New Year’s resolutions if you’re not even going to try to accomplish them. Take action as soon as possible. If your New Year’s resolution was to learn a new language, go online now and enrol yourself in a course. If you don’t take action, it will never get done. You are the only person who can make it happen, so get started!
- Set shorter-term goals
When you give yourself a year to do something, you always have that thought in your head saying, “It’s fine, you have a whole year to do it”. So why not give yourself a shorter time to achieve slightly less daunting resolutions? So instead of saying “Lose 20lbs by December” say “Lose 5lbs by April”, then “Lose 5lbs by August”, etc. This will make your resolutions more manageable as well, so you are more like to succeed. This doesn’t only work with losing weight – you can apply it to any resolution. If your resolution was to quit smoking, say “Cut down to five cigarettes per day by April” then “Cut down to two cigarettes per day by August”, etc.
- Don’t only keep your resolutions in one place
It’s all very well to have a consolidated list on your fridge, but the more you surround yourself with your good intentions, the more likely you are to implement the changes to your life. If you keep a diary or datebook at work, write your goals down there too. Give yourself little reminders that your shorter-term goals are coming up by saying “Should have lost 5lbs in one month from today”. That way you aren’t caught off guard when you suddenly realise that it’s April and you haven’t lost any weight yet.
Now that you have a list of ways to stick to those rules you gave yourself four months ago, go out and do it! There is no time like the present, and before you know it, it will be December and you’ll be opening that old notebook to make a list of resolutions for 2014!