As we near the end of January, I’ve started thinking about the promises I made to myself over Christmas and whether or not I’ve kept them or given up already. I have to say, so far, so good. However, this is not normally the case and I know many people may have given up on your ‘dry January’ or 'no chocolate' promises already. ‘Why is that?’ I hear you cry, ‘what is going on?’ Well in this month’s blog I’m going to offer some basic ideas on how to try and avoid this.

Going it alone: Whether it’s quitting smoking or going to the gym, then don’t do it alone. Find a buddy to do this with, this creates accountability and credibility. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to do more. Remember your buddy should be a positive force in your life, ideally someone that is even more motivated than you. Avoid so called ‘energy vampires’ or people who drain you mentally and emotionally. Maybe create healthy competition in a safe environment.

Setting extremely lofty goals: If your goal is to achieve ‘World Peace' then maybe you should consider re-adjusting it. Maybe you should commit to finally reading “War and Peace” or at least watch it on the TV on a Sunday evening so you can talk about it with confidence! My simple suggestion would be to re-examine your resolutions, are they really what you want to achieve or are they just things you think you are supposed to. The best advice I was ever given is to take things day by day, one step at a time.

Giving up too easily: Whether you get discouraged or simply lose interest, giving up too easily is a big resolution breaker. Many people make their resolutions with a genuine belief that they can accomplish them, but come February, the excitement wears off and other priorities take over. To deal with this I strongly suggest you set benchmarks ahead of time set for throughout the year. This way you can keep yourself on track through positive reinforcement. Reward yourself for how far you’ve come, however small.

Time management: Sometimes you realise your new resolution is a bigger time challenge than you’d originally intended. The answer to this is to break it down. So, if you want to be clutter free this year just take 5 minutes each day to tidy something or throw something away. These little steps and little amounts of time invested can add up to a huge result. Everyone can spare five minutes a day, I promise you.

No plan: The best resolutions are the ones that actually have a pan of action. I think people set themselves up to fail because they have no plan of action to achieve what they set out to make happen. A goal without a plan is just a dream. Write it down, put actions in your calendar and review at the end of each week what you have done this week. If you’re falling behind, then re-adjust the plan.

Lack of honesty: Are you truly committed to losing weight or running that marathon? Be honest with yourself; often we find ourselves committing to things just because we think we should. Don’t waste your time with that, you will only end up being disappointed in yourself. Only set goals you are passionate about achieving because YOU want to. You have to really want something for it to happen. If you have fallen away in the past, challenge yourself on how much you really wanted it. 

Wrong perspective: Whilst you may have the best intentions with your resolution, you could be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Put it in perspective. Rather than associating New Year with changes you want to make, consider it instead as a time of reflections on the things you want to work on throughout the year. Quit dwelling on what you haven’t done and focus on what you will do.

Not believing in yourself: Sometimes all you need is a pat on the back – from yourself. Congratulate yourself for the progress. The problem is that many of us have a very black and white attitude. We see it as we have either achieved our goal or we haven’t. But, there is a grey area! If your goal was to send out 10 CV’s a week for a new job and you’ve only sent out 5, don’t beat yourself up. Rather, congratulate and reward yourself for making progress against your goal. That will give you the energy and stamina you need to continue. With friends, we often offer kindness, praise and warmth, and positive feelings, but most people don’t speak to themselves like that. Commit to offering that same kindness and compassion to yourself. 

It’s hard to keep going when other priorities keep coming at you, but if you want to achieve your resolutions or any goal in life, commit to a plan and break it down into bite sized chunks. You’re on the road to changing things if you do that. Good luck in 2016! 

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