As the saying goes “Talk is cheap”, and most New Year’s Resolutions end up not happening. So here are some tips on how to make sure you actually follow through on your resolutions!
Write Down your goal – the act of writing goals is a concrete action and makes you more likely to follow through in taking action to achieve the goal. Use the SMART goal format:
Specific – vague goals are dreams and dreams never happen.
Measurable – being able to measure progress and success are key for something to be true goal.
Achievable – do not set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals.
Relevant – make sure the goal is something that is important to you.
Timebound – you must set a deadline for achieving the goal – because without a deadline you are just day-dreaming.
Focus on one goal at a time – science has proven that we only have so much willpower and if we set to many goals we run out of steam. Focusing on one goal at a time allows you to conserve your willpower and discipline enhancing your chance of reaching your goal.
Create habits that lead to your goal – when something becomes a habit it takes a lot less mental energy and willpower to complete it. So start with small, easy to achieve habits that help you move towards your goal. For example committing yourself to a 5 minute walk each morning or evening is a simple and relatively easy commitment. Then when you follow through and start to do it each day you create a habit.
Plan Your Work then Work Your Plan - science also shows that people who create a plan are much more likely to achieve their goal. Part of your plan should be becoming aware of the triggers of your bad habits and planning on avoiding them. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking and you know that going to a coffee shop is a trigger for lighting up – plan on avoiding coffee shops. Many bad habits are associated with specific locations.
Share your goal with others - sharing your goals with friends, family or co-workers can help provide support. Studies have shown that people who share weight loss goals with family are 22% more likely to succeed.
Plan on Mistakes and focus on progress instead of perfection - we all make mistakes, but just because we make a single error of judgement or have a short lapse in willpower does not mean we need to give up on a goal! If you make a mistake, such as having a high calorie meal while trying to lose weight, do not give up on the whole effort. Acknowledge the lapse – and get back on the horse!
By focusing on progress, you put mistakes in context. For example, if your goal is weight loss and you have a week with 6 days of following your plan perfectly but ha