Making New Year Resolutions Stick

I am sure you too have made a bunch of New Year resolutions this year. New Year resolutions are fun to make, but very difficult to stick to. Most of us forget about them as soon as the clock strikes 12 and the rest of us give up on them within the first week itself. A survey conducted in 2016 showed that 75% of the people had given up their resolutions within 7 days itself and only about 12% were still committed to their resolutions after 6 months! Isn’t that shocking?

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What is the reason behind being unable to follow through with our New Year plans? Why do most of us quit within the first month itself? It is indeed hard to keep the enthusiasm going after a few weeks but if you wish to stick to the list you jotted down on that piece of paper you must avoid these common mistakes people make with their resolutions:

Start with SMALL changes rather than HUGE alterations

Big changes don’t happen without small steps. When you make that list, try to make a realistic one. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 kgs this year, your list should say “Lose 1 kg in January” rather than “Lose 10kgs this year”. Small achievable goals will keep your motivation going and help you reach your final target more easily.

Don’t expect habits to change overnight

When we wish to change some bad habits we must not forget that those habits were probably built over time. And it is unfair to expect them to dissolve overnight! Instead of getting irritated and frustrated at not being able to give up on an unwanted habit you should resolve to contribute a little bit each and every day until those habits are dismantled.

Did you know: Studies have shown that 21 days are enough to form or break a habit! All you have to do is hold it together for three weeks and the chances of you achieving your goals will increase significantly.

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Will power is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets!

Several people give ‘poor self control’ or ‘no will power’ as an excuse for not being able stick to their new year resolutions. But how many of us know that will power is NOT something that gets passed on to you in your genes? Will power is something that gets developed over time – the more you use it the stronger it gets. Start with small things – like hold off eating that cup cake until lunch, or don’t light that cigarette until you’ve finished replying to your emails, or don’t reach out for that bag of chips until you have finished doing the laundry. Over time you will be able to exercise more self control and develop a greater resolve.

Make sure your goals aren’t poorly defined

“Lose weight” “Develop a hobby” “Start a new business” – All these are examples of some poorly defined goals. They are vague, abstract and lack urgency. A well defined goal will specify the action you are going to take along with the end result you wish to achieve with the time frame you are giving yourself for achieving that it. For example: “I will lose 1 kg in 3 weeks and in order to make it happen I will go to the gym thrice a week and stay off fried food for 21 days”. Doesn’t it sound more realistic and reasonable?

Having too many things on your list can be detrimental

Having too many things on your list is like grabbing more than you can chew. The possibility of achieving your goals increases three fold when there are just one or maximum two things on your list. With fewer things on your plate, you will be able to focus more energy and resolve in making it happen.

New Year resolutions are the perfect opportunity for all of us to indulge in some retrospection and reevaluation. Look in to your life and at some of your life’s choices. Sit down and make a list of important things you wish to change. And make sure you keep the above helpful hints in mind while penning down your resolutions. Happy new year!

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