Most people know that New Year’s resolutions can be hard to stick to but did you know that less than 10-percent of New Year’s resolutions actually come to fruition? The remaining 90-percent are left in the dust by the end of January. That’s a pretty poor rate of success.
If you want to be one of the successful 10-percent rather than the unsuccessful 90-percent, we’ve got some great tips for you to try!
1. Tell people about your resolutions
Peer pressure is a wonderful thing and telling people about your New Year’s resolution means that your actions will be under scrutiny and you’ll be much more accountable. For example, if you tell your friends you are going to lose 10 lbs. by Easter, they’ll expect to see you hitting the gym and not see you eating candy for lunch. They will have an interest in your success and will undoubtedly ask you how things are going. Knowing that other people are watching you can help keep you on the straight and narrow path to victory.
2. Recruit a resolution buddy
Another way to increase accountability and support is to recruit a New Year’s resolution buddy. Seek out a friend, colleague or family member who has a similar resolution and share your intentions and experiences. Offer support and receive it in return as well as sharing tips for success. Be it a workout buddy, a diet buddy or a quit smoking buddy, having someone else to share your journey with can be very motivating.
3. Anticipate and plan for obstacles
New Year’s resolutions inevitably mean doing something new and adopting new habits. The thing is, old habits are often hard to break and are something we often fall back on in times of difficulty. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and eat more healthily, it could be disastrous if you forget your healthy packed lunch and are faced with buying lunch from the local takeout or skipping lunch altogether.
Make sure that you anticipate these sorts of problems and have a plan to overcome them. Here are a few barriers and possible solutions…
- Gym is closed – exercise at home instead
- Running late and no time for breakfast – make a healthy smoothie and drink it on the way to work
- Forget healthy lunch – keep a healthy meal replacement bar in desk drawer for emergencies
Prior planning prevents poor performance so make sure you anticipate and plan for obstacles so you are better able to stick to your resolutions.
4. Try visualization
Visualization is a very powerful tool. In fact, many people use visualization to do amazing things like winning the Olympics, conquering mountains or building successful businesses. Visualization simply means creating a mental image of what you want to achieve. If you are currently overweight and unhealthy, this means creating a mental image of the new, slimmer, fitter and healthier you so you have a motivating target to work toward.
Spend a quiet few minutes visualizing successfully achieving your New Year’s resolution and then a couple more minutes writing about the image you created. Revisit it anytime you feel you need to renew your motivation.
5. Practice daily positive affirmations
Negative thoughts often lead to negative actions and it’s all too easy to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you let negativity creep into your thoughts, your New Year’s resolutions can soon crumble to dust for another year.
However, just as you can choose to control your actions, you can, to a certain extent, control your thoughts too and the best way to break away from a negative mindset and into a positive one is to practice daily positive affirmations.
Any time you feel your motivation or willpower beginning to wane, revisit your positive affirmations to renew your motivation. Remember too, by removing the letter T from the word can’t, it becomes can…
- I can’t lose weight becomes I CAN lose weight
- I can’t resist sweets becomes I CAN resist sweets
- I can’t find time to exercise becomes I CAN find time to exercise
While it is impossible to totally eliminate negative thoughts, you can certainly make them less powerful by drowning them out with positive ones.
6. Frontload your week to maximize motivation
Most people usually find that motivation and willpower are highest at the beginning of the week after a weekend of rest and relaxation. Make the most of this by frontloading your week. Try and do as many positive things as possible on Monday and Tuesday to allow for that inevitable slump that creeps up on Thursday and Friday. Examples of this strategy include:
- Exercise on Monday and Wednesday so you are only left with one workout left for the week
- Do your grocery shopping earlier and not later in the week
- Plan your diet and exercise program for the week on Monday
- Cook extra healthy food on Monday and Tuesday so you can store it ready for the end of the week when your motivation to eat healthily may dip
Plan ways to frontload your week to maximize motivation and willpower. Make sure you place important things at the beginning of the week so you face less willpower-sapping pressure at the end. If you think if your week as an upturned pyramid, make sure you do more in the first few days and less toward the end of the week when your willpower and energy may be waning.
Meaningful New Year’s resolutions can be hard to maintain but that means that they are probably worth achieving. It won’t all be plain sailing, even using the tips listed above, but with perseverance and persistence, you CAN achieve whatever you set your mind to. If you only make one New Year’s resolution this year, make it this one – that 2016 is going to be your happiest, healthiest, fittest year yet!