How to stick to new year’s resolutions

Posted on: January 10, 2023

Everyone loves setting New Year’s resolutions, but few stick to them. New year’s resolutions are great for self-improvement and personal growth, but you there’s definitely a way to do them right and a way to get them wrong! That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips to help you set great goals that you’ll smash in 2023.
You might have heard of the SMART acronym which states goals much be:
• Specific
• Measurable
• Achievable
• Realistic
• Time-dependent

A goal needs to be specific; otherwise, how do you know if you’ve achieved it? So instead of a goal like ‘lose some weight’, decide on a specific amount of weight you want to lose ie ‘lose 3kg’. If it’s not specific, you have the ability to alter the goal after committing to it.

Like specificity, your goal needs to be measurable for the same reason. If your resolution was simply to ‘improve my running pace’, how are you going to know if it’s been achieved? ‘Improve my 10k time from 50 minutes to 45 minutes’ or ‘I want to increase my businesses revenue by 50%’ – now we’re talking!
If it’s measurable, that means you can also track progress to help with motivation (and ensure you’re on the right track).

This is a really important one that is commonly overlooked when making resolutions (and a big reason they fail). Sitting in front of a warm fire with chocolate wrappers on your lap, it’s easy to go huge and decide you’re going to target a sub 3-hour marathon having never run further than 10km. You start on your path, realise you’ve overshot and end up giving up. Make sure you have a good chance of achieving your goal!

Again, this goes hand-in-hand with being achievable. Look at your strengths and weaknesses and objectively consider if this is a realistic goal or not. Maybe you’ve tried for it before, but haven’t succeeded – why not? Perhaps it’s simply not realistic.

Another one that’s often forgotten is to place a time-limit on your resolution. After all, ‘I want to lose weight’ is a lot less powerful than ‘I want to lose weight by the end of January’. Set a realistic, achievable timescale and go for it.

So, with all those SMART parameters in mind, here’s some rehashed goals to make them much more achievable:
Goal: I want to lose weight
SMART goal: I want to lose 6kg of fat between now and 1st March by running twice per week
Goal: I want to earn more money
SMART goal: By the end of January, I want to increase profits by 30% to hit my commission target
Goal: I want to be more social
SMART goal: In January, I’m going to join the local 5-a-side football team and commit to playing once per week
Goal: I’m going to do a triathlon
SMART goal: I’m going to enter the Stourhead Megasprint triathlon in May, join a local club to help me train and raise money for a local hospice

Ok, so how do I stick to them?
Setting SMART goals is a super first step, but there’s more to be done. Once you’ve set your goal, what can you do to give yourself the best chance of success? Here’s some tips:
Put it in writing.

You can’t expect to keep a resolution if you don’t know exactly what it is, so take some time to write down your goals and put them somewhere prominent. This can be on paper or as a note on your phone. The important thing is that the document exists somewhere outside of your head, preferably where you’ll then see it every day.

Add accountability
Once that’s done, it’s time to add accountability. Tell someone you know about your goal and ask them to keep you accountable. Maybe you want to take on a coach to help you reach your goal, in which case they’ll add accountability. Share it on social media – your followers will then provide it! Or just share it with your family so they can help motivate when it’s low.
Whoever you tell, just make sure there’s an external reminder of your commitment so that when January rolls around, this one sticks around long enough to become habit rather than wishful thinking.
Put reminders in places you look at every day
• Put reminders on your phone
• Put reminders on your fridge
• Put reminders in your wallet
• Put reminders in your car

Develop habits that include your goal.
Habits are so powerful. A habit is a routine that’s become so engrained you do it subconsciously.
It’s important to develop routines that includes your goal. For instance, if one of your goals lies within the fitness or weight loss realm, develop the habit of riding to work once per week. A strong motivation will see you achieve that for a month or so, but habit soon takes over and it just becomes “something you do” without consideration or, necessarily, the need for motivation.

Have the right tools
You can create SMART goals but not have the appropriate equipment to make success more likely. In the most basic sense, this could mean not having adequate cycling clothing when your goal is to ride to work once a week. In which case, buy the kit you need to help you achieve.
But it could also mean you don’t have a local 5-a-side football team available to join. Perhaps you want to be more social but you can’t drive so meeting face to face is difficult. Align your goals with the tools you currently have at your disposal (or align them with tool that you’re able to set up or purchase).

Remember your meaningful why
This bit is crucial. Having a ‘why’ will be the difference between you sticking to your goal and it being forgotten (until you try again next January). Even if you’ve set a SMART goal, if you don’t have a ‘why’ it’ll be extremely hard to achieve.

Your ‘why’ is the reason you’re setting out to achieve this goal.
Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you want a pay rise?
Why do you want to do a triathlon?

Think about it.
I guarantee that if you want to lose weight solely to see a lower number on the scale or look better in the mirror, you won’t stick with it. It’s not motivating enough. Wanting to lose weight so you can be more active, play with the kids more or extend your longevity is or extend your longevity is way more powerful.
Rather than wanting a pay rise purely so you can buy more clothes, why not aim for a pay rise so you can take your family on that once-in-a-lifetime holiday? Or to put a deposit down on a house?
Maybe you want to do a triathlon because you know how fulfilled you’ll feel, and how incredible that feeling of crossing the line must be. That’s your why. Remember it in times when you can’t be bothered – it’ll be a powerful motivator.

Just start
Even if you have set SMART goal, the thought of starting can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry – you can do this. With the right attitude, anything is possible. Starting is often the hardest part but if you break your goal down into smaller chunks (what do you need to do this week to start moving towards your target?) then it becomes a lot less daunting.

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