Although many of us start the New Year full of hope and excitement for making things happen, many of us quickly give up on our goals and wait until the next year to even think about them again. But we set New Year's resolutions for a reason, and that's because we hope they can improve our lives in some way. So if you want to set goals you can keep this year, here are three tips to help you make it happen.
1) Set Realistic Goals That You Really Can Keep
The first place to start is with your goals. Are they realistic? Are they attainable? Are they honestly, honestly something that you can see yourself achieving in the coming year?
By all means, push yourself with New Year's resolutions as a method to work toward your goals, but do it within the limits of what's possible! Planning to work out for 2 hours every single day probably isn't realistic for most people, nor is it realistic to think that you'll cut out all sugar completely if you like your sweet treats.
It's also important to ensure you don't try too many things at once. By all means, plan to improve your guitar playing skills, to get healthier, and to learn a new language, but try focusing on just one goal to begin with. Once you've made the first goal a habit, or reached the milestone you were aiming for, you can move onto the second.
2) Understand The Way You Feel
Although not all our New Year's resolutions are about giving something up, understanding the way you feel about things like overeating, or other habits you may have, is crucial to seeing your goal through to the end. If you're trying to give up drinking, or a certain type of food, understand that cravings come and go like waves, and do the best you can to learn about what triggers your cravings so that you can avoid them.
The same goes with things like exercise. Think about how you feel when you can't be bothered to exercise, and put it off until tomorrow ... you probably feel like you let yourself down. But when you do exercise, not only are you happy that you're meeting your goal, but you may even get a rush off those endorphins!
3) Reward Yourself, Don't Punish Yourself
We tend to work better when we're working towards certain rewards, rather than avoiding punishments. So decide on some ways to reward yourself for completing goals. Instead of berating yourself and feeling guilty for not doing something, think of how you'll feel and what you'll do when you do something you want to do.
Pick milestones relating to your goals, such as 1 month without a drink, or 5 days of exercising every day, and give yourself something nice as a reward (a new CD, a nice meal etc.) Rewards are far better motivators than fear!