Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Making New Year's resolutions you can keep

There are only a few hours left of 2014 and at this time of year people traditionally review the outgoing year and think about things they'd like to achieve/ improve in the incoming year. It can be easy to get carried away and set unrealistic goals that are almost impossible to keep. Statistics show that only 12% of us actually stick to our New Year's resolutions. "Setting realistic, achievable goals is the key to success", says First Psychology's Professor Ewan Gillon.

Here are some of Ewan's top tips to setting achievable goals for 2015.
  • Start small and build up. Make sure you don't get carried away. Promising yourself that you will do 5 exercise sessions a week when you currently do none is not realistic. Start smaller, perhaps set yourself a goal of walking to work or going for a run at weekends. As you gain fitness and adjust to the new regime, you can add more sessions in. Setting realistic goals helps you remain positive and will keep you on track. 
  • Think broad. Broad goals allow for personal growth and for changes in circumstances. 
  • Take bite sized chunks. Any goal becomes more achievable psychologically if you break it into smaller steps. So if you wish to lose a certain amount of weight over the year, set yourself targets for every three months and give yourself rewards if you achieve them. This will keep you motivated and focused. 
  • Allow yourself to dream. Often people choose very practical goals such as giving up smoking, losing a few pounds, being healthier, etc. This is fine, but allow yourself to dream too. Make at least one resolution that allows you to enjoy yourself, perhaps learning a new skill or a language that you have always wanted to learn or doing something that inspires you. 
  • Think about the things that get you down. Are there any changes you can make to help prevent these things happening? For example, if you regularly overspend and find yourself in debt, perhaps you could start making yourself a packed lunch so you don't go to the shops every lunchtime or you could plan your weekly meals and do an online shop to prevent yourself from buying too much. 
  • Make it meaningful. Pick your resolutions carefully. Make sure they are things you really want to achieve and not things you feel you should be doing. If you really want something you are more likely to make it happen.

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