Normally the promises we make to ourselves at the beginning of the year quickly fall by the way side as we fall back into our old habits.
So when we read that a University of Alberta student kept his New Year’s Resolutions up, by tackling 52 different ‘Skillz’ in 2015 and blogging about them all, it’s fair to say we were a little inspired.
But if he can stick to them why can’t we?
Here are some tips to make sure your resolutions are still going long after you’ve taken down the decorations.
Choose ONE thing
The New Year is a fresh start and for many of us it provides the ultimate opportunity to wipe the slate clean and begin again. However, you’re not going to be a totally different person in 2016, so if you didn’t complete a half marathon, read a book a month and quit smoking last year, you probably won’t this time around. Pick one small but manageable goal and try your best to keep to it.
Try not to set vague goals like spending less money or cracking down on your shopping addiction. Have a physical goal to show for your efforts and to keep you motivated when your willpower is at its weakest. Buy a piggybank and put a loonie in every time you stopped yourself from purchasing that shirt you didn’t really need, or that trip to the pub you were able to decline.
Allow for Setbacks
If you need to set a resolution, it’s probably because you’re heavily drawn to something that won’t be easy to quit or adverse to an activity you struggle to maintain. Therefore, it’s likely that the road will be paved with temptation. If you fall off the wagon, don’t quit altogether. Pat yourself on the back for getting this far, allow yourself an indiscretion and pick up where you left off.
Set a Goal and Reach It
People will quickly forget that you made a resolution to take up cycling once they stop asking you about it in January. And if there’s no one reminding you that you haven’t been for a run in two weeks there’s little to stop you from dropping it. Book yourself into a 10k race later in the year that you can train for and you’ll feel more resolved to keep your new hobby up.
Double Up on Goals
Reading a book once a month is hard when you have a full time job and a Netflix account. But if you integrate your objectives into activities you already wanted to do, like forming a monthly book club with some friends or colleagues you’ll be enhancing your success. You could also incorporate travel into any goals you have. Want to get fit? Why not do the Inca Trail in Peru this year?
Twelve months is a long time, so don’t pick a hobby that you have to stick with. Choose something more flexible that you can mix up over the course of the year like trying a new exercise class, craft or watching a new foreign film from around the world every month. It won’t feel like such a challenge if your resolution is built around a variation on a theme.
Be Short Sighted
Yes, it would be lovely to learn to speak Catalan, but unless you’re planning on moving to Barcelona it certainly won’t affect your immediate lifestyle. If you’re not really committed to achieving a goal of that magnitude, you’ll likely get bored and quit before the year is through. Choose ones you will immediately feel the benefit of – redecorate your bedroom or learn to cook Thai food if you love it.
Shout it From the Rooftops
It may sound a little self-absorbed, but fear of failure is a huge motivator. Whether you ask people to sponsor you to do a race or you take to Instagramming to record your weight-loss triumphs, the more public you make your intentions, the more likely you are to take them seriously.
Refraining from swearing and recycling are great accomplishments, but they’re not much of a reward in themselves. Set yourself weekly or monthly goals and reward yourself for meeting them. If you go a whole month without losing your temper, order a pizza, have a manicure or allow yourself a guilt-free sleep in and respite from your weekend chores.
Self-improvement isn’t a competition, but if you’re winning it’s a whole lot more gratifying. If you have a competitive nature, put it to good use by teaming up with your partner, friend or brother and see who can achieve their goals the fastest. Alternatively, buddy up and encourage one another not to give up on days when you would rather do anything other than cycle to work.