According to our history, people have been making New Years resolutions for over 4000 years. It’s believed that the decisions or goals a person sets on the first day of the year have a significant impact on their lives for the rest of the year. From a psychological standpoint, the new calendar year can help create a change in our mind-set and allow us to improve our lives as well as the lives of others.
We endeavor to improve ourselves with the best of intentions, so how to we keep these promises to ourselves?
- Be realistic – Begin by making resolutions which you know you can keep and are practical. You an also break up a longer-term goal into smaller more manageable goals which can be beneficial and more rewarding.
- Do one thing at a time. Trying to achieve too many resolutions at the same time can often lead to overwhelm and disappointment. If you choose to join a gym, eat healthy and quit smoking – pick one to start. Once that one goal is under control, then move onto the next one.
- Be S.M.A.R.T – set goals which are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time- bound. Connecting a resolution to a specific goal can be motivating. For example dropping a dress size before the next summer holiday allows for time and is very specific.
- Share your resolution! Telling a friend or family member that you have a New Years Resolution can help provide emotional support and encouragement when you need it.
- Have a New Years Resolution Buddy – changing behavior on our own can be challenging. However, if you have a friend or family member who is working toward the same goal, they will be able to encourage you during challenging times which will result in a higher success rate.
- Don’t limit yourself. Changing our behavior or an aspect of our lives is an important part of our growth as people. But it doesn’t have to only happen during the New Year – it can happen anytime!
And my last piece of advise about New Years Resolutions is to be kind and gentle with yourself. Behavioral changes can take time and accepting lapses is part of the process. And if you think this sounds like too much work, remember that people who make New Years resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.