How To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

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From losing weight to getting organized, spending less and enjoying life to the fullest (last year's top 4 resolutions), New Year's resolutions are the perfect opportunity to start making the changes you intended to make next week, next month, or now for next year. Research shows that only 8% of us will keep our New Year's resolutions, but don’t be disheartened, we have some advice that can help put you in that winning bracket, so sit down and prepare a list of important lifestyle changes you wish to make for 2017. 

Remind yourself WHY you want to make the change
Identify the reason why you are resolving to change something in your life, for example, "I'm doing it for my children." Research shows that reminding yourself of why you chose a particular resolve will keep you motivated.

Set SMALLER more achievable goals
New Year’s resolutions are often big announcements such as planning to lose 5 kilos or spring cleaning your house. This stems from our desire to have a clean slate free of our vices and shortcomings. It feels good to assert that you will do new things or do things better. Break big goals into smaller milestones, and consider setting goals throughout the year instead of grand gestures on January 1.

Create a PLAN for dealing with setbacks
The reason most resolution makers don’t stick with their goal is that they lack self-control. Before you set out, think about the potential barriers that might get in the way, such as laziness, tiredness or being lured by another temptation, then identify contingency plans for how you will respond in those moments.

Write PROGRESS reports to yourself or a friend
Research has shown that by having an accountability partner you can increase your chance of sticking to your resolution. More than 70% of participants in a study who wrote down their goals and then sent weekly updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement. For those participants who created a goal and kept it to themselves, only 35% were successful.

REPLACE bad habits with good ones
Resolution makers often write down their goals, then get excited about them for two weeks before the goal goes out the window. Habits cannot be killed off. It's like the old saying that you never forget how to ride a bike. Old habits are lying in the back of your mind waiting to be cued by familiar situations. Breaking a habit is all about replacing it, not destroying the old one. That's why it is much better to plan a new good habit to replace the bad old one. Try to learn a new response to a familiar old cue.

When attempting to make your New Year's resolutions stick, it may be helpful to remember William E Hickson's maxim:
"If at first you don't succeed; Try, try, try again."

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