How to set New Year's resolutions you can keep!

Melissa Ironside
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
life goals

How many times have you set a goal and not kept it? Whether you promise to start exercising, find a new job or even clean the house, nothing ever gets done. The thing is, achieving a goal is really easy if you know how. So here are some sure-fire ways to help you tick those New Year's resolutions off your list!

Write down your New Year's resolutions on a piece of paper and either stick it to your bedroom wall or keep it in your handbag. That way if you start to lose your motivation you can refer back to your list and re-build that excitement.

Choose about 10 goals to start with and be really specific about what you want to achieve. Never use words such as "some", "a little bit", or "more". "If you want to lose eight kg, specify that number. If you want to save $200 a month, be exact", says Personal and Business Lifecoach Shannah Kennedy. "Your brain can help you accomplish almost anything if it knows precisely what you’re aiming for."

Keep it SIMPLE
Make sure each point outlines one resolution. Don't lump two or three things into the one task because you could be setting yourself an impossible challenge. Not only will it make that goal harder to complete but it will also make it look harder. Achieving your goals has everything to do with self-belief and motivation, so don't make things harder for yourself than necessary.

You can however, choose New Year's resolutions that accomplish several things at once, such as running a 10 kilometre race. This will almost certainly help you feel great, lose weight, strengthen your heart, increase your energy, and meet new friends. If you design your goals to strategically impact as many areas of your life as possible, you'll have more reasons to reach them!

Choose SIGNIFICANT resolutions
Set targets that are worth achieving! "No one can muster the enthusiasm, hard work and courage needed to reach a goal if they don't really care about it", says Kennedy. "Reachable goals are ones you really want. They will change your life and enhance your health or wealth. They should make you want to get up in the morning and face the day."

To reach your New Year's resolutions, you'll need a plan. For each point, set a timeline of what you need to do to achieve the final outcome and how long it should take to do each thing. Be realistic and give yourself enough time. Your goals should be just out of reach, but not out of sight!

When Clara, 29, and her fiancé Brian, 30, talked about going to visit family in Europe their initial excitement was overtaken by disappointment when they realised there was no way they could afford it. "We added up our finances in our head and decided the trip was impossible", says Clara. "So we both moped around the house for a week feeling sorry for ourselves until an accountant friend of Brian's intervened. He sat us down and showed us that we could afford the holiday if we saved $250 a week each for the next three months." Clara and Brian set themselves ten goals each. Clara was going to sell some old clothes of hers at the market and Brian was going to work overtime. Clara also bought all her family presents early to save money and Brian agreed not to play golf for a few months. "Once we wrote down what we had to do, everything seemed so much easier", she says. "We ended up reaching our goal and with money left over!"

SHARE your goals with others
People are far more likely to stick to their goals if they have someone barracking in their corner. The only way Jade, 26, was able to quit smoking was by making herself accountable to her boyfriend. "His encouragement was the key to me giving up", she says. "Every time I felt like a cigarette, he would distract me by making me laugh or by just reminding me that I didn't need it. He understood what I was trying to do and it gave me an added motivation knowing that if I cracked I wouldn't just be letting myself down."

Tell your friends and family about your resolutions so they can support you. If your goal is to exercise or lose weight, try joining a team sport, taking classes at the gym, or running with a friend — it's so much easier to push yourself when around others. Then once you achieve one of your resolutions, share your elation with the people who have helped you get there. Celebrating your achievements is the best way to give you the motivation you need to carry on with those goals you've not yet knocked over.

You only get one life and one chance to do all the things you want to. If you follow this plan there's no way you can't be well on your way to achieving your goals by the end of January. So stop making excuses and remember to keep your New Year's resolutions specific, simple and significant. Be strategic and have a plan and share your achievements with others. It's easy, you can do it!

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