It's only February and I wonder how many of you have already broken the news years resolutions? Read on to discover why and how you can stick to them for the rest of the year. It's the end of December and you're filled with good intentions. 2015 is going to be the year you do things differently, lose weight, stop smoking, sort out your finances and achieve your career goals; whatever you may want to change, this is the year you are going to do it
Then it gets to mid-January you're hungry, fed up with the diet, hate exercising and struggling to save money. Your willpower caves and the resolutions are over. So why do we not do things today that we know will benefit us in the future and could we be doing it differently? The answer is yes we definitely could.
As those of you who have tried to resist chocolate cake know, willpower is not always easy. Studies have shown that exercising willpower suddenly in one area of your life makes you less able to exercise willpower in other areas so when you resist shopping for those new clothes all day and then faced with the temptation of the dessert tray you may find that you will power caves easier than it would had you splurged on that new dress.
Willpower, therefore, is not unlimited. So when you try to change all areas of your life on January first your willpower goes into overdrive and will ultimately fail.
Willpower is also similar to a muscle - if you use it regularly and consistently it becomes stronger and if you hardly ever use it, it becomes very weak. So people who regularly exercise discipline in their life - for example exercising or praying every day - will find it easier to stick to new habits that they are trying to implement.
So how can you change the way you make your news resolutions to make sure they actually stick.
Tip one - one thing at a time
The first thing you need to do is to change the way you think about new years resolutions. You can't expect to make a raft of changes in your life on January 1 and expect them to stick; it's too much change at once. Making or breaking a habit is easier when you're only focusing on changing one thing in your life. They say it takes 30 days to make a break a habit. So try changing one thing every month; focus only on changing that habit in your life. If by the end of the year you are doing 12 things better than you were at the start of the year I can guarantee will better off than most of the population.
Tip two - walk before you can run
Be realistic with your goals. If you've never run a mile before you're probably not going to become a record-breaking triathlete. Aim something that is achievable but still challenging.
Tip three - share your target
Tell people what you are doing. Being publicly accountable for things makes you much more likely to stick to them. Tell your friends and family what your goals are and when you hope to achieve them by.
Tip four - keep it visible
When goals are visible in our mind regularly we are much more likely to stick to them. Create a visual representation of your goal and have it as your phone or computer screen saver or look at each night before you go to bed.
Tip five - allow yourself some pleasure
If sticking to that new diet is really important to make sure you give yourself some treats in other areas of your life. That way you won't feel like you're missing out on everything.