How to make your New Year’s resolutions survive the test of time

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The month of January has always seemed surrounded by doom and gloom in my eyes. Not only is Christmas a distant memory but the prospect of returning to days filled with stacks of journals to read and the sight of the damage you have inflicted on your bank account over the festive season, which now has to be repaid, becomes depressing to say the least.

© Paul Morley

Also, January tis the season for New Year’s resolutions, when traditionally one must create self promises to ensure that this year is better than the last one. Don’t get me wrong. I love waking up on New Year’s Day with my list of (what I believe to be) endless possibilities the year will bring and how I will achieve said possibilities.

However, when January 2 comes around and the caffeine that I have willing chosen to deprive myself of the day before is preventing me from concentrating on my plans to become the next Prime Minister, the point of giving up something that has become such a good friend over the last year seems all just a bit too silly and, well, stupid.

At the start of each year, we all have good intentions to stick to the promises we’ve made. However, accomplishing our resolutions normally remains elusive. Research shows that four out of five people fail in their New Year’s resolutions by January 20. So what’s the trick to sticking to them?

Leave the past behind

Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution which you have failed to achieve in the past, it will only set you up for frustration and disappointment. Instead, highlight why you believe you didn’t fulfil your promise to yourself and use the answer to create this year’s resolution.

Reveal all

Be loud and proud about your intentions,  going public with your resolutions means that the people around you can support you with your plans for the future. This will also increase your determination to keep your inttentions as those you have confided in,  be it your mum, your friend or your flock of Twitter followers, will be all too aware of your promise.

Don’t jump off at the deep end

Many of us run head first at our New Year’s resolutions, trying to tackle everything in one go and often run out of steam a week later. The key is to take your time. Start off with some of your easier resolutions and build up to the more difficult ones where more motivation will be required.

Timing is key

Set down a realistic deadline for when you will achieve your goals. Give yourself the time for any obstacles that are thrown your way, such as a problem which will only be resolved by the only reliable men in your life Ben and Jerry.

There’s no such word as can’t

Eradicate words such as ‘can’t’ and ‘don’t’ and keep it positive.  So instead of setting resolutions such as “don’t smoke”, frame your resolution in a more positive manner such “I will smoke less”. If you set yourself positively framed goals you can give your brain a much better chance of helping you to achieve them.

And finally, I suppose all that is left to say is good luck and Happy New year. Hopefully the New Year will bring a new and improved you, not that you need it of course!

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