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6 Steps to Achieve Your Forgotten New Year’s Resolutions

As ‘Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day’ passed on the 17th of January, by now, most of us have completely given up on them. In fact, only about 8% of people actually achieve their new year’s resolutions. Are we setting ourselves up for magnificent failures or are we just setting unreasonable goals?

New year’s resolutions don’t always last because habits are difficult to change. But equally, it is great to set goals or intentions for the year ahead, using the motivation and the feeling of a new beginning to get us going. So, don’t give up just yet because here we give you 6 keys to achieving your goals.

  1. Set specific, realistic goals

A popular resolution is to “lose weight” but what exactly does that mean? Identify exactly what you want to do; how much weight and by when do you want to lose it? Healthy weight loss would be 0.5 - 1 kg weight lost per week. Avoid setting absolute resolutions such as “I’m never eating chocolate again” but rather set more realistic, limited goals like “I’m only eating a small chocolate, over weekends”.

  1. Make one change at a time

In line with being realistic, avoid making too many resolutions which may become overwhelming and difficult to achieve. Instead, set one goal at a time. Especially if your goal is something that requires several behaviour changes or something that you really battle with, such as wanting to lose weight. Losing weight requires several changes from exercising more, shopping and cooking differently, making difficult decisions in social situations, or choosing healthier options when eating out. Setting one goal at a time, and dedicating your attention to planning strategies to achieve that one goal will boost your success.

  1. Set smaller steps  

Considering that most resolutions require many behaviour changes, set smaller specific goals or steps to help you reach your overall goal. Reaching these smaller goals will also boost your motivation. Reflect on what your biggest barriers may be for achieving your overall goal and think of ways to overcome them. E.g. to lose 10kg’s, you may set specific goals such as:

  • Gym 3 times a week after work for an hour

  • Pack a healthy lunch box for work each day

  • Reduce carbohydrate portion size at dinner time

  1. Give your willpower a workout

Willpower is like a muscle, the more we use it, the stronger it gets. So, try practising willpower day to day. It’s quite a relief to know that we all have the ability to increase our sense of self-control. Your willpower can however be overly stretched, especially when you’re tired, hungry or stressed; making it more challenging to use willpower. In these situations, get away from whatever is tempting you until you've eaten or rested.

  1. Make time

The age-old excuse, “I don’t have time”. The fact is, we all have time but choose to spend it a certain way. So, if something is a priority to you, then make time. If you want to exercise more then make time for it by scheduling it into your day and rearranging where necessary. Perhaps you need to wake up earlier or stop doing something less important that takes up too much time.

  1. Share your goals with family and friends

Support from friends and family is essential and greatly increases your chances of reaching your goals. So, share your goals with them so that they can encourage and support you. This also holds you accountable because it’s much harder to admit to someone else that you have failed than to yourself.

Make 2017 the year you join the elite 8% by following these 6 key steps to achieving your goals. Remember that lasting changes take time, so be patient and don’t let small failures turn into excuses to give up.