5 ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions

January can be a strange time of year. It’s a time when the post-Christmas-blues seep in, dry January hits hard, and summer is just too far away to seem real. On the other hand, it’s also a time for reflecting on the previous year and making some new goals for the coming year.

Motivation for the new year is always exciting and can lead to making some very optimistic resolutions. However, fast-forward a few weeks and you can find that this motivation starts to slip and what were once exciting resolutions become ones that are perhaps too unrealistic. This can get you down if you let it, but it doesn’t have to.

So, how can we make sure that these resolutions really stick for a whole year? Here are five tips:

  1. Be specific

If your New Year’s resolution is to ‘get fit’ or ‘be more optimistic’, you will most likely struggle to keep to it. Realistically, you’re not going to think about doing this every day and such general aims can easily slip your mind. So, be more specific. Aim to run 10km before the end of the year, or try to write down three good things that happen each day. Don’t be beat by generalisation.

  1. Set mini goals

New Year’s resolutions can be very overwhelming. There is suddenly a pressure to be a better version of yourself. Fortunately and unfortunately, you can’t change yourself overnight – and you shouldn’t try to! Running 10km is an unrealistic goal for someone who hasn’t done much running previously. Giving up caffeine is a crazy idea for a coffee-addict. Just because they’re New Year’s resolutions, doesn’t mean you can’t set smaller goals initially to build on through the year. Aim to run 3km by April and 7km by September. Drink two coffees a day by June and then aim for one by October. You will reach your final goal in your own time and setting these smaller interim targets will help to keep you motivated.

  1. Get a resolution buddy

If your resolutions are to attend your lectures more regularly or to give up your daily nap, get a friend to help you out. It’s always easier and more encouraging to do something with someone at your side. So join forces and tackle your resolutions together head on.

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself

It can be disheartening at the end of the year when you feel you haven’t really completed a single resolution. But remember, resolutions are inherently hard. If you find them easy then they’re not challenging enough. Provided you have tried your best, at least give yourself a pat on the back for that.

  1. Positive outlook

This is an easy one to say, but more difficult in practice. A good attitude can work wonders, so use positive reinforcement. Tell yourself you can do it and you will do it. You can be your own worst enemy and likewise your biggest supporter. As Nike say, just do it!

Emma Prentice

(Image: Fox News)