7 Surefire Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

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For some, sticking to resolutions is the first test we face in the new year. Psychotherapist Hina Khan offers simple tips on how to make a suitable resolution and what you can do now that will help you stick to it and achieve your goals in the long run — as illustrated in the form of animated cat GIFs:

1. Write it down

Put your resolution to paper, this helps you clarify what you want and also allows you to see your progress. You can also keep it close with you in your purse or wallet, so it is always accessible. You can also take a picture of your handwritten note and use it as a screensaver on your phone or tablet.

Putting pen to paper is very powerful in psychologically committing to your goal, as it requires you to get specific and distill it.

2. Figure out your purpose

You have to know why you are taking on that resolution, because it is the why that is going to be your motivator and driving force. For example, you might want to lose weight, but it's important to ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Do you want to lose weight because you want to be healthy for your kids, want to be able to do activities with them, or are you tired of your weight holding you back and this year you want to change that?

Finding more than one purpose is perfectly fine. Grouping in three is also good because we can remember three reasons. However, if you have a huge list it might be counterproductive because it can lead to creating a list of negatives in the present moment and can set you up to feel bad about yourself.

3. Identify how reaching this goal will make you feel

If we go back to the weight example about how you feel once you reached your goal and as the weight is coming off, you might say something like, "I will feel so comfortable in my body, when I am at my ideal weight I will feel present with my family and friends because it won't be occupying my mind. I will feel happy, joyful and at ease!"

There's also a way to keep these positive thoughts alive, especially during the more difficult times (like when it's mid-February and your diet still isn't working). Move away from your challenging goal and drop into gratitude. Get a piece of paper and go gratitude crazy and you will start to feel differently in your body. Some days are tough so you might want to start off with how much you love your bed, a great cup of coffee you had, the sun came out, etc...

4. Create concrete action steps that are manageable

Once you have your inner game sorted out, such as why you are doing this and how you will feel once you have accomplished it, then create an action plan of three steps that you can take to move you towards your goal. 

In fact don't do more than three to start, otherwise a big list can feel overwhelming and unmanageable. Get into the mood of coming up with those three steps by getting into a great feeling space, getting quiet and meditating and seeing what comes up for you. Or you could also journal about it. The point is you want to create steps that are really inspired action!

You can also put deadlines on those specific action steps. Deadlines can make it more manageable if you can break it down, even from your 12-month goal to a six-month goal to a 90-day goal.

5. Optimize your environment

Make sure your environment is supporting your goals and your vision. If it is to lose weight, maybe it is time to clean out the pantry. Your environment also includes the people you surround yourself with. Maybe you want to join a walking/running club, so have an accountability buddy. Put more people around you that live the life you want! If you want to be healthier, surround yourself with people that make health a priority. You want to feed off of their positive vibes and great energy. They are also a living example that it is possible.

For example, if you're friends invite you for dinner every weekend, you risk hurting them or you sacrifice having a social life if you always decline due to your diet resolutions. If these are your friends, they want to support you. Be honest with them and reassure them that you care about them and this is what you need to do right now, so you may not be able to attend every event.

6. Own it

Act as if you've already achieved your goal. That doesn't mean trying to squeeze into a dress two sizes too small, but it does mean going back to the second tip and thinking about how you will feel when you have accomplished that goal. For example, maybe it's having more confidence. Don't wait until the accomplishment of the goal to feel confident — this will more likely help you reach your goal faster!

Also, don't be afraid to have some wiggle room, but you know you've gone too far if your cheat day turns into a cheat week!

7. Be kind to yourself

Let's face it you may slip up, and you may slip up more than once. Think of it as part of the process as opposed to a failure. Don't beat yourself up or give up. Give yourself a break, dust yourself off and try again.

If you have tried and it is not sticking or working, then let it go and in a compassionate way you can be curious about it and see if this is what you want. It may go back to asking yourself if this was really your goal.

More Tips for the New Year

New Year Dating Advice
How to Beat The Post-Holiday Financial Blues
5 Ingenious Ways to Save Money—All Year Long!

 

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