I just love the feel of a new year. Everyone is positive, happy, excited and high in anticipation of what the year will hold. More than anything, the new year is a fresh and clean slate for many of us; a chance to improve on ourselves. I always say that the best project you will ever work on is you – so when better to start, than a brand-spanking new year?
With all of this excitement comes our resolutions, or our goals we set for ourselves to achieve during the course of coming year. Now – of course we are able to set goals for ourselves at any time of the year, but having a fresh road ahead makes them all seem so much more achievable, right?
According to the folk over at Time Magazine, some of the top resolutions include loosing weight, quitting smoking, save more money, spend more time with family, travel more, and drink less. Can you relate to these? Funnily enough, these all also top the list as the most commonly broken resolutions.
Here are my top tips for successfully making AND achieving your 2014 resolutions.
1. Make It Achievable and Realistic.
Sounds simple enough, right, because every goal should be achievable. But for our New Year’s resolutions, it’s all in the way you frame it. Let us take the first example above, loosing weight, and play with this.
“I will loose 10 kilograms/20 pounds by March.”
SWAP THIS FOR
“This year, I will become healthier and fitter.”
A simple little sentence like this puts SO much pressure on you! Loosing weight is never a quick and easy fix, and putting an unreachable deadline on it, along with an unrealistic goal will lead you onto a very unhealthy road, or tempt you into giving up completely when you don’t see the results you imagined
Instead, focus on health and fitness as your general goal, and aim to make small changes each day to improve. Depending on your fitness level, or your (healthy) weightloss goal, this can mean joining your local gym or aiming to walk with a friend a few times a week, swapping your usual take-away lunch at work with home prepared meals, including more vegetables in your diet, cutting down on chips and cakes, and so on. With this, results WILL follow.
My partner and I are focusing on saving more money this year (among other goals). We’ve found that the best way to do this is not the usual ‘money in a jar’ trick (with the idea being that seeing your savings will encourage you to save more), but is to actually automate it all.
If you have a similar goal, visit your bank, and set up a savings account if you don’t already have one. Agree with your banker that each week/fortnight/month your salary comes in, they will debit order a percentage of it (or a certain amount) into your savings account. This can be as small or as big as you like.
I know I’ve struggled SO many times when I get my salary and instead of putting my decided amount into an account or a jar, I spend it on something spontaneously instead. Whoops!
Automating your commitment means that there WILL be money going directly into your savings account without you being able to give a second thought to it. Plus, touching it when you are not supposed to will be much less tempting if you have to visit your banker and have an entire conversation! This is the one time where a self guilt trip will work.
3. Make A Plan
Sick of wasting time watching TV or browsing social media? More time with friends, family, or your significant other high on your list? Make a plan and SCHEDULE in time. Make commitments to the other people involved, and plan a week or two (even a month!) in advance if you need to.
If you have time to read this now, you have time to have a real personal connection with someone who means something to you.
4. Get Rid of Excuses
I don’t have enough money. I don’t have a travel partner. I don’t know where to start. I don’t want to leave my friends/family.
Sound familiar? If travelling is high on your 2014 to do list, you NEED to kick those excuses in the butt! Excuses are the little voices of fear and doubt that creep into your mind, justifying to yourself why you shouldn’t do this amazing thing, or take that once in a lifetime opportunity. Try and analyze WHY you are stopping yourself – are you really just scared to take the leap? Leaps lead to the best stories of our lives.
5. Make A Public Commitment
Tell EVERYONE what you are planning. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever – Tell the world that you are taking 2014 by storm, and let them know exactly how you are going to do it! Want to quit smoking? Take the plunge and make a commitment to it on Facebook. This way, when you are out with friends or in public with people you know and the temptation to smoke sneaks in, you will be much more inclined to stamp it out if you want to be seen as a winner by those around you. Plus, if your friends or colleagues know what you want to achieve, they will be supportive of your decisions.
6. Focus on The Positive
Change the wont’s for wills, the can’ts for cans, and the no’s for YES!
Swap “I want to stop drinking so much” for “This year, health will be my priority!”. Small changes like this make all the difference, and focusing on a positive change instead of a negative one will make achieving your goals far easier.
What are your 2014 goals and resolutions? I would love to hear them!