Have you made any resolutions for the new year? Do you have an important goal that you want to achieve? Whether you've decided to quit smoking, adopt healthy eating habits, lose weight, get fit, or make more time for your family, New Year’s resolutions can help you get off to a great start. However, you must be realistic, and not expect too much too fast. If you turn your normal routine on its ear, you might just end up with lots of disappointment and self-loathing as you find yourself right back where you started.
If you really want to create lasting change, you have to prepare yourself now to over-come future roadblocks. Your willpower and determination, which is so strong at the moment, might not last. Think ahead about ways to stay on track even when your resolve runs low. Learn from the mistakes of past resolutions. Have you tried changing your diet or exercise schedule before? What worked and what didn't? Plan a new strategy with this information in mind.
Write down exactly why you want to change and how it will benefit you and your loved ones. Write down as many solid reasons as you can, and be specific. If you have a friend or family member who wants to reach a similar goal, work at it together. Not only will you keep each other on track, you can enjoy the benefits of reaching the goal together. But remember that even if you are going it alone, change is entirely possible. Take responsibility for your actions and do it for your own sake. This will help you avoid assigning blame to others for your own problems, and take away the power of your excuses.
Think about the goal that you wish to achieve and break it down into smaller, more manageable goals. For example, if you are trying to get fit, don't stress yourself with unrealistic workloads. Instead of struggling to get in daily workouts at the gym, immediately cutting all junk food from your diet, or quitting all time in front of the TV, focus on losing five pounds, taking daily 15-minute walks, or drinking a glass of water at mealtimes. After conquering these smaller tasks, go on to more advanced ones... but always keep a realistic mindset.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from any failures and make a note of why the failure occurred. If you don’t reach a certain goal when you wanted to, or if you revert back to old habits, or have some lousy days where you just don’t see the point in trying anymore, get out your list and remind yourself of all your reasons for starting the challenge to begin with. Then get right back up and go on with renewed determination. Don’t let yourself get down for long - your goal is far too important.