Whether it was pledging to score a particular grade, save a certain amount of cash, or to stop going to so many hipster cafes, we hope you stuck with your 2016 new year’s resolutions for more than three days.
What’s the secret to actually following through on your plan to lose weight, to get organized or to spend less? Is it even possible to achieve your new year’s resolutions!?
We’ve come up with 5 goal-setting and behavioural changes that if you keep in mind and put to practice, just might help you land that six-pack this year.
Clearly define your goals
Many people in the spirit of New Year, and at the stroke of midnight, loudly proclaim, “This is the year I’m going to finally get in shape.” But what does that mean? Do you have a certain number of kg in mind you want to drop? Want to reach a body-fat percentage goal? Finish a 2.4km run without passing out? Set specific, measurable goals for your new year’s resolutions and it will help in spurring yourself towards a clearly defined goal.
Also set achievable resolutions. If you have been scoring straight Fs in Maths for the past years, it would not be realistic for you to suddenly get an A next month. Start by achieving a ‘D’ by Mid-Year exams, and then a ‘B’ by End-of-Year exams.
Track your progress
There’s a saying popular among psychologists that goes, “If you can measure it, you can change it”. If one of your resolutions is to lose weight, start tracking what you eat by keeping a journal or downloading tracking apps like myfitnesspal.
By tracking your daily/weekly/monthly progress, these measurements will be a source of motivation for you as you reflect on where you started and see how far you’ve come. They will also help you to identify moments in your progress where you’ve started to slack off so you can adjust your efforts, or get friends to help keep you accountable in your journey.
Set aside time for your goals
How often do you hear people say they can’t “find the time” to do something. Well, here’s news for you! Nobody finds time. We all choose to make time with the 24 hours we are given. Whether that’s lying in bed bingeing on MacDonalds while watching Netflix or joining your mates to run at the gym.
Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar. If you have a fitness goal, schedule 2-3 times a week for your workouts. If you want to save money, limit yourself to one Starbucks run a week, and then slowly drop it to one every 2 weeks. If you want to declutter, set one specific date on a weekend to clean out your wardrobe. Think of these time blocks as important appointments with your friends. Just like you don’t suddenly ditch your friends (I sure hope you don’t…), don’t automatically schedule something else over them.
Publicize your goals
Speaking of being accountable, as embarrassing as it might be to announce your specific resolutions to the world, social support is critical. Yes, it will take some personal courage and vulnerability to share something that you might actually fail at. But to dramatically increase your odds of success, you will want as much support from those around you as possible.
It could be as simple as sharing a Facebook status about your resolutions this year, or even set a goal together with a group of close friends (‘Score a B in Physics’, ‘Save for a graduation trip to Tokyo together’, ‘Club only once a week’) so you can all spur one another on towards reaching that common goal.
Something is better than nothing
It’s better do achieve something than nothing at all. So if you have a ‘all or nothing’ mentality towards your new year’s resolutions, it’s time to stop. If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20 minutes you can. If you have a financial emergency and can’t save your full 10% this month, just save what you can.
The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort at all. You never know, the difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge, and towards the end of this year, you will suddenly realise that you’re a lot closer to your goals than you have ever been before.