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9 tips to keep your new year resolutions

Indrayani Valinjkar
Singapore, 17 Jan 2015

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First of all Happy New Year 2015!!!

Its that time of the year when many of us make a list of new year’s resolution/s. Some of us manage to stay with it and most of us forget during the year and recollect it only on the next new year’s eve.  Be honest – how many new year’s resolutions have you actually kept for longer than a few weeks? Not many, right?

You’re not alone. The things that we resolve to do like exercise more regularly, eat a healthier diet, save more money, quit a bad habit etc. are often exactly the habits we find most difficult to adopt. These kinds of changes require sustained motivation, better planning and dedication.

Here are few guidelines to help you achieve those resolutions.

1. Believing your goal

One of the world’s leading researchers in the science of motivation and procrastination, has found that believing your goal is valuable — that achieving it will ultimately make your life better is a crucial factor for staying motivated.

2. Set realistic and achievable goals

Resolving to NEVER eat your favourite food again is setting you up to fail. Instead, strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now. This doesn’t mean that you should only set easy goals; goals that you have no doubt you’ll meet. Almost anything worth doing is going to be challenging, and you’re likely to face obstacles along the way. But your goal should be something that you realistically can see yourself achieving with hard work.

3. Take small steps

Your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. We haven’t learnt walking and running before crawling. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

4. Make a plan

Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling on a friend for help, practice positive thinking and self-talk.

Keep a “trigger-action plans”, the basic idea is that you set a clear, concrete trigger: Your trigger should be something specific and obvious — so it will be very clear to you when it’s occurred. For example, say your new year’s resolution is to start flossing. A bad trigger for flossing your teeth would be something like “in the evening” this is far too vague and will likely pass you by. A much better trigger would be “when I put down my toothbrush after brushing”, which is much clearer.

5. Share it

Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. Share your experiences with significant others. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of co-workers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.

6. Ask for support

If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer interventions as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable.

7. Track Your Progress

Keep track of each small success. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and each small accomplishment will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five. Keep a journal/diary to help you stay on track. Today mobile apps offer powerful new ways to stick to new year’s Resolutions. People carry their smart phone’s with them everywhere, which means they constantly have a personal trainer, task reminder, life coach, and budget-tracker within arm’s reach.

8. Do not give up

If you have totally run out of steam when it comes to keeping your resolution by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! Recommit yourself for 24 hours. You can do anything for 24 hours. The 24-hour increments will soon build on each other and, before you know it, you will be back on track.

9. Stick to It

Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient!

Chances are at some time in your life you’ve made a new year’s resolution and then broken it. This year, stop the cycle of not following through the resolution.

– Indrayani Valinjkar


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