How to stick to your New Year’s resolution
Research indicates that between 60% and 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. It’s enough to leave you thinking ‘what’s the point of making one?’ But with a few simple steps, you can make your New Year’s resolution stick. The secret is to follow the SMART formula. Follow this and you’re in with a fighting chance of success.
Step 1: Make your goal Specific
When setting a goal, it’s natural to think in general terms about where we want to be. For example, I want to be happier, or I want to feel healthier. Identifying this is really important, but that’s the result of the goal and not the goal itself.
To meet the criteria of being specific, your goal need to be much more defined. For example, if you want to be happier, think about what specifically makes you happy, and set a goal to do more of that. Similarly, if you want to feel healthier, think about the factors in your life which you think may be making you less healthy. Not getting enough exercise? Focus on that as your goal.
Step 2: Make your goal Measurable
If you have no way of measuring the success of your new year’s resolution, you have no way of knowing whether you’ve achieved it or not.
So set a measure for success before you start. For example, if your goal is to get fitter, set yourself the challenge of being able to run/swim/walk/cycle a certain distance. If your goal is to eat more healthily, think about what that looks like, for example ‘I will cut out squash and fizzy drinks completely’ or ‘I will have five portions of fruit and veg a day’.
Step 3: Make your goal Achievable
A sure fire way of setting yourself up to fail is to make your new year’s resolution so difficult to achieve that you end up giving up. If you want to go from doing no exercise to running the London Marathon, good for you – but do you have the time to invest in such an ambitious goal? Remember, there’s always next year to make the second step to achieving your ultimate goal.
Step 4: Make your goal Rewarding
The most important factor in setting yourself a challenge is that it’s personally rewarding for you. If you’ve been pressured into your resolution by someone else, it’ll be harder to commit to. There’s no motivation quite like actually wanting to do something. Sure, setting a goal with someone else – and achieving it together – can be a great way of doing it. After all, you can keep each other motivated. But if you’re just going along with it for their benefit, or setting your measures for success according to their skill level, your motivation might take a tumble before the year is out.
Step 5: Make your goal Time-Bound
OK, so this one is pretty obvious, but it is worth thinking over whether your New Year’s resolution can be achieved within a year. If it can’t that’s fine, there’s no need to rip it up and start again, but it might be worth figuring out how far along you want to be by the time the clock strikes midnight next New Year. Having a deadline will help you to move things along when your motivation starts to flag.
Give this formula a go and let us know how you get on! And if you need a little help along the way, give our app a try. To get the app, download it from the App Store, Google Play or via desktop at www.mypossibleself.com. It contains clinically proven content to help you stress less, worry less and think more positively.