Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to: Make New Year's Resolutions So You Actually Keep Them

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Hi there! It’s crazy to me that 2013 is almost over, but one must ignore that to actually get over it and start the New Year off fresh and make it better than the last. Or at least that’s how I think.

It’s been tradition for me to write New Year’s resolutions for years now, so this year is no different. I’m sure that’s the same for many of you out there, but honestly and quite unfortunately, I forget about them by the end of January. Anyone else who’s like that? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Because of my constant failures in keeping up with my resolutions, I decided to change that for 2014. Here are a few things that I kept in mind while making mine.

Review the past year.

What made you unhappy about the year? What do you want to change? Aside from the bad things, what made you happy? What did you like about the year? They might seem like really basic and almost pointless questions, but it’s the first step in making your resolutions.

Things like your health and fitness, procrastination, lack of sleep, etc. might be bad habits you’d like to kick in 2014, so write them down. List areas in your life that you’d like to change for the better and make them general. It’s been proven that you’re more likely to achieve your goals and get things done if you write them down.

The “HOW”

Now that you have what you want to change, it’s time to tackle how you’re going to change them. For example, if you want to start working out/work out more, write down specific things you want to change, not just “work out more.” How much is “more,” exactly? Instead, write something like “Start by running ten minutes three times a week at 4 miles/hour and build it up every two weeks.” Make it really specific so you don’t confuse yourself. If you’re not being specific enough, you’re not going to want to tackle your goals which makes them absolutely pointless.

Let’s be real here.

We’re all guilty of making goals that are just ridiculously unrealistic. If you’ve gone your whole life drinking less than a litre of water a day, the chances that you’ll be able to down 2 litres a day starting on January 1st for the next 364 days are pretty slim. When you’re writing your resolutions, don’t make them too easy or unattainable, make them realistic.

Less is more.

Keeping with the theme of being unrealistic, it’s not just the resolutions that can be unrealistic – it’s the amount of goals that you’ve made that can be unrealistic, as well. Keep the number of resolutions you write around ten, twelve, or so. Less is always more because if you'll get really overwhelmed if you write a ton and it will end up being counterproductive. 

Remember them for the next 364 days.

Once you’ve written your resolutions, you’ll probably want to keep a few of the promises you’ve make yourself. In order to do so, make them visuals, not just goals stuck in your brain that no one will really know about it you fail. Print or write them out and put it somewhere you know you’re going to see every day so you’ll feel obligated to act on them. If you’re not someone who will be able to just attack their goals head-on, the “guilt” will surely get to you and make you attack the goals you’ve made yourself if they’re staring at you every day.

Okay, confession. I’m writing this post as much for myself as for you, my readers. I’ve always failed at keeping my resolutions until the end of the year at around back-to-school time when I suddenly get the urge to completely change my ways for the better.

Because of my past failures, I thought that this year, now that I have a blog and all, to keep me going with my resolutions, I could start a “Resolution Diary” series and post about my progress. I’ve been toying around with the idea of either doing it monthly, or every three months, so let me know which you’d prefer. I’ll be posting about my resolutions in tomorrow’s Sunday Funday, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.

That could also be another tip for you if you have a blog: Blog about it. It’ll give you some added pressure to keep them, which isn’t a bad thing.

Have you had trouble in the past with keeping your New Year’s resolutions? Have you found a way around it? Are you going to write some this year? If so, what are a few of them? Share your stories below!

Thanks for reading!
- J

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