3 Tips to Making Successful Resolutions
This is a hectic time of year: the holiday season is looming, and you have gifts to buy, parties to attend and winter bugs to ward off. However, it is also the time that you need to reflect on the past twelve months. Your year will have consisted of many wonderful experiences that make you smile when you think about them, but also there will have been periods when things didn’t quite go to plan, and it is painful to revisit them. This retrospection is important. It helps you to understand what you want to achieve and avoid in the coming new year.
New year resolutions are a tradition that has its roots as far back as Babylonian times when people resolved to return borrowed items and pay back their debts. Modern-day resolutions are more focused on self-improvement: to diet, stop smoking or to save money. The benefit of setting yourself new year’s resolutions is that you are 46% more likely to stick to them than when you try to change your behavior at other times of the year.
So, if you intend to be a better version of you next year, here are 3 tips to help you:
Make realistic resolutions
The temptation is to make grandiose resolutions that will, if you are successful, make a significant impact on your life. However, you need to be realistic in the personal challenges that you set yourself. If you set yourself an unachievable goal, you will be giving yourself something else to beat yourself up about; resolutions are meant to be positive and set to improve your future!
Consider the statement: I’m going to get a promotion, sort my finances out and get fit.
That is a statement filled with great aspirations, but it doesn’t help you! Choose one area to focus on and give it your full undivided attention.
Now that you have identified an area in your life that you would like to improve in, you need to think about the specifics. A generic ‘I want to lose weight’ is not specific enough. Your resolution needs to involve a set target. The benefit of this is that there is an end in sight: a specific goal to achieve. ‘I want to lose ten pounds’ is specific, and more importantly, quantifiable.
Once you have defined your resolution, you can break it down into realistic and achievable objectives to help you reach your goal. For example, if you are going to tackle your personal finances, you can create an action plan. You need to set yourself a road map to give you direction and help you achieve your goals. You can define steps to help you reach your goal, such as:
- Review your monthly spending and identify where savings can be made.
- Create a budget.
- Review your debts.
- Contact debtors to see if debt repayments can be adjusted to align with your budget.
- Clean up your credit report. Even if you have a foreclosure in your financial history, it can be removed; read 3 Easy Steps to Remove a Foreclosure from Your Credit Report to show you how.
- Open a new bank account just for savings
It’s a good idea to write your action points down so that you can refer to them when you need a boost in motivation.
Celebrate the successes
You now have very clear instructions about the steps you need to take to support your resolution. The great thing about creating a schedule is that you will be able to celebrate each objective you meet.
Success, no matter how small, is a great motivator to continue your self-improvement journey. It is especially important when trying to stick to new year’s resolutions. Think about all the people who go to the gym religiously in January but have given up by February. Their resolution may have been to get fit, but they have failed to be specific (to run a marathon) and not celebrated the lesser triumphs (to run three miles without stopping).
If you do have a lapse in your resolution, don’t be too hard on yourself and give up. Lapses are commonplace with new year’s resolutions. However, it is how you respond to the blip that is important. You have two options: you can sit and stew and feel guilty, or you can draw a line under it and get back on track. Think about why you made the mistake and recognize what triggered it; you will have learned a valuable lesson about how to avoid another lapse in the future.