If you are anything like me, you'll use the Christmas period to start getting yourself prepared for the year ahead. I take about 2 weeks off over Christmas and new year and simply use that time to de-clutter. De-clutter my mind, my home, my office and my soul. I think of it as an opportunity for a fresh start - wipe the slate clean.
A lot of us take time to create new year resolutions. These are what we want to do for ourselves and for others. However, it's a sad fact that by February over 80% of us have given up on our resolutions having lost hope, faith and motivation of sticking to them.
I really don't want that for you. I want you to be one of the 20% that high five their way to their goals, one of the 20% that have a secret smug satisfaction of 'Yeah i did it'!
So here's my tips for sticking to your new year resolutions (and if you've already 'blown' them. Don't worry you can always start again - i won't tell anyone)
Get yourself a plan
I go on about goal setting until I'm blue in the face but only because it's the only way we can truly be successful at hitting our goals. Set out a blueprint of what you want to achieve. Then look at how you're going to achieve it (what you need to do), you need to be realistic and look at factors that may hinder you in achieving that goal and lastly commit to a date of when you're going to hit that goal by.
REMEMBER - Treat yourself on the way. It makes hitting that goal all the more fun in the end!
REady, steady JOURNAL!
I'm a HUGE fan of journals and planners. It's easy to create your own (that's what i do). Every day I write down my top 3 things I have to do, I write down my goals and aims (no matter how big or small they are). I also look at how i'm feeling, write down what exercise I've done and write down any notes or things I think of during the day. My journal goes everywhere with me. I'd be lost without it.
A journal is a great way of tracking your progress. You'll be able to flip back through previous pages and see just how far you are coming.
Reminders go a long way
It's only natural to lose focus. Life can get in the way, stuff happens and takes our mind and mojo off the bigger picture. Set yourself reminders on your phone or Ipad. Don't set them on a daily basis as it's easy to become used to them and just swipe them to one side.
Set them for random points - in 10 days, 3 weeks, 2 months, 3 months. Set other reminders to congratulate yourself or remind you of where you hoped you'd be by now to see if you are actually on track , ahead of the game or falling a little bit behind.
Keep yourself focused by visualising
Gawd I love visualisation techniques. They really do work. The trick to them is to practice visualisation on a daily basis. You can't just want something and then forget about it and wonder why you haven't achieved it. You've got to work for it every day.
When I want something, i set myself visual reminders (as I'm a very visual person). I change my lock screen on my phone and Ipad to what I want, I change the background on my laptop to a picture of what I want (currently it's Hawaii).
Now if you're a fan of meditation (not everyone is and that's ok), then spend some time each day meditating on what you want to achieve. Visualise how you'll feel when you achieve it. Notice how that makes you feel.
This is where you tut at me as it's easier said than done and although i'm generally a positive person, I do have my 'woe is me' days. However, nothing takes away your mojo than being a negative Nancy (sorry to the Nancy's out there).
Bet you didn't know that it's actually easier to be negative in life than it is to be positive. This means we have to consciously work harder to be positive. When you notice your reactions (to any situation), notice if the immediate thoughts you have are negative. If you notice more immediate negative thoughts than positive ones, this may give you an indication of your natural mindset.
Just like my stay positive tip, it's all too easy to spend too much time and energy focusing on the behaviours we don't like. So lets say you're trying to give up smoking and you have a blip and have a cigarette. It's natural for us to think we've blown it and will start again tomorrow. However, in-between that time of now and tomorrow so much can happen. Our mojo can ebb away and in come those thoughts of 'well if you're starting tomorrow, 1 more won't hurt'. This can make it easier for those kind of thoughts to really take hold. Before we know it, our resolutions are out the window. If you have a blip, try not to jump to the dramatisation that you are a failure. Don't let that 1 blip define your whole day. Instead look at it for what it truly is - just a blip.
When we look at things rationally they don't seem half as bad. Nor do they deplete us of our motivation.
ALWAYS REMEMBER - Setbacks happen. Recognise your setback and put plans in place to look after yourself and get back on the wagon again.
make the most of your resources
So your resolution is to lose weight? what can you do to help yourself?
We have so many resources available to us. Starting with our phones - download an app to help you lose weight - exercise app maybe? maybe a weight loss tracker app? how about a food log app?
You want to quit smoking? - there's some amazing websites out there designed to help you. You could even go to your local smoking cessation group and get some free information/tools to help you.
You want to start saving money? then start by looking at your outgoings and money in. Then organise your bills.
No matter what your resolution(s) are, there is support and resources available out there to help you.
MAKE THE TIME
Most resolutions fail because we're not truly committed to them. We don't set ourselves time to concentrate on them. Don't allow the time excuse to ruin your resolutions. If you genuinely are one of those people who are busy (i feel you there), then look at how you schedule your time. There's been times where (although I had a busy schedule), I have allowed myself to become distracted by things.
Make sure you spend time each day/week working on your goal and resolutions. NO EXCUSES
Alleyne is a qualified weight management counsellor, author and columnist.
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