The new year always brings with it a tradition of new possibilities. We see it as a chance for renewal – an opportunity to re-create the “us” we’ve always wanted to be. Self-change is one of the most difficult things to do, but certainly not impossible. It’s best to make our intentions manageable by detailing the specific steps that will carry us there.
Here are 10 tips for creating that plan of good intention – and of course, for succeeding at it as well.
- Get real: The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite desserts again could be unrealistic. Strive for a goal that is attainable.
- Give ’em something to talk about: Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support you. You may even find yourself a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution!
- Take your time: Make your resolution before the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. If you wait until the last minute, it will be based on your mindset that particular day. Instead, it should be planned well before December 31 arrives.
- Angels and demons: It may help to see a list of pro and con items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
- Emergency response plan: Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip the exercise class or just have one more cigarette. This could include calling on a friend for help, or practicing positive thinking and self-talk.
- Keep score: Keep track of each small success you make toward reaching your larger goal. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and small accomplishments will help you stay motivated.
- Treat yourself: This doesn’t mean that if your resolution is to change your eating habits you can eat an entire box of chocolates. Instead, celebrate each of your successful steps by treating yourself to something that you enjoy.
- Don’t be a sadist: Obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Don’t beat yourself up. Do the best you can each day, and take it one at a time.
- Patience is a virtue: Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality.
- Every day can be new year’s day: If your resolution has totally run out of steam by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! There’s no reason you can’t make a “New Year’s Resolution” any time of year.
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This article is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.
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