Keeping your New Year's resolutions - a handy guide

Health
02 February 2018
We offer a few tips on how to take a disciplined approach to keeping your New Year's resolutions - no matter what they might be.

Keeping a New Year's resolution can be very difficult - and one month into 2018 is a good time to take stock of where you are. 

It is easy to give up on something like this, regardless of whether the resolution is a social one or something relating to your personal health.

Losing weight or eating more healthily are among the most common New Year's resolutions, according to research published last year by Statistic Brain, which specified that 21.4 per cent of people try to make an extra effort on this.

This was followed by self improvement or better financial decision making, with 12.3 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively.

If you are struggling to keep up with your promise, then you should not feel disheartened, as the data also shows that only 9.2 per cent of people feel they are successful in achieving the goals set out by their resolution 12 months down the line.

With this in mind, we've come up with a few simple tips to help you stay on track for the remaining 11 months ahead.

Specific goals

It's easy to say something like: "I'm going to eat more healthily," but what does that really mean? Will you reduce your calorie intake? Eat fewer carbs? Allow for indulgences with an exercise routine?

One popular system when setting goals is to make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Keep a journal

Measure your progress by recording your activity in a daily journal. It doesn't have to be a long and intimate diary entry, just a simple note of a sentence or two should be sufficient.

This makes it easier to track your progress and change any habits that you might not even notice are holding you back. It will also help you notice if you start slipping and make it easier to get back on track.

Avoid stress with patience

Avoid putting yourself under too much pressure and adopt a patient approach. Progress isn't simply an upward curve - rapid improvement can be followed by slower progress later on - and vice versa.

Share your goals

Social support can be a very positive thing, so share your goals with your friends, family and loved ones.

Talk to them about it when you see them to really make a resolution a part of your life and you will increase your chances of success.

Small rewards

Working toward a New Year's resolution doesn't need to be all work and no play. Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a subgoal, as this can act as a great motivating tool and will also offer  a sense of progress.

Don't be too hard on yourself

If you are too hard on yourself, it can be very easy to get into a negative feedback loop where you punish yourself for perceived slow progress and pile on the pressure, creating stress.

Be disciplined but relaxed and prepare yourself for slow and steady development - but don't forget to have fun while you're doing it.

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