Friday, January 9, 2015

5 Tips to Help Resolutions Stick

It's that time of year again - the first of the year when everyone is setting high expectations for themselves: get out of debt and save money, lose weight, stop smoking. These are all worth while goals, but many times we set unrealistic standards for ourselves that are too hard to reach so we give up in the end. Only a very small percentage of people actually set their goals and achieve them........ BUT, since I always stay on the positive side I don't want to talk about the large percentage of people who quit. I want to help you be in that small percentage who succeed. Here are the top 5 tips I have found that will help you on your way to successfully achieving those resolutions that you set for yourself.

1. TAKE YOUR TIME. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: "Don't let the time something will take keep you from doing it. Time will pass anyway, so you might as well do something productive." Too often we want it and we want it now. You didn't gain your weight, or go into huge debt over night, so you can't expect to get rid of it that quickly. Most resolutions worth doing take a long time to achieve so allow yourself just that - time. Make sure you are realistic in your time frame for finishing your goals.

2. BABY STEPS. Which is a lot better than death therapy! (Ya, movie geek). Most resolutions are too big to take on themselves. They are much easier if you break them down into smaller segments. This is the best way to tackle your list for several reasons.
  • You aren't going to eat an entire turkey on Thanksgiving day in one bite: you have to slowly pick away at it, bite by bite, day by day, until it's gone. It's much easier to accomplish small goals, one at a time, than one great big one.
  • Every time you reach a goal you feel good about yourself. If you only have one big goal that takes 6 months to accomplish, you might burn out and get frustrated. But, if you have 10 goals leading up to that one big one, then you have 10 opportunities to feel like you are getting things done, feel good about yourself, and keep your motivations strong.
  • It's all about progress - and with little goals you will be able to see your progress instead of feeling stagnant all of the time.
3. DON'T GIVE UP. I can't tell you how many times I have had something I have been working on, had a weekend of total neglect, and then felt like I have failed. Or, worse yet, have been working on something very focused, had made progress, and then all of the sudden slid back two steps..... discouraging to say the least. Remember number one? You have all the time in the world to reach this goal. Don't let one (or two) setbacks stop you. Pick right back up where you are, and continue from that point. And, lets face it, sometimes life just gets in the way. If your trying to get out of debt and save money, and the car breaks down, then you will have to put that on hold for a while till you get the car paid off. Then, you just get yourself right back on track.

4. BE FLEXIBLE. This is difficult when you have what you want in your mind. However, there are times when you are in the middle of working on something and you realize that maybe the direction you are going isn't working. You have to be willing to change that direction in order to reach the final product. You can't be so married to one idea that you lose focus on the big picture. Sometimes even the end result will morph into something different as you achieve your smaller goals and realize that a different destination would be better.

5. HAVE SOMEONE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO. It's much easier to give up on a goal if you are the only one who knows about it, because disappointing ourselves is much easier than disappointing someone else. Make sure someone knows about your resolutions and can hold you accountable. When you know you are going to have to check in with someone on your progress, you are more likely to keep on the straight and narrow. This is why Weight Watchers works so well, because you know you are going to have to step on that stupid scale every week in front of your counselor, and the scale doesn't lie. Get a support group happening and they will help you every step of the way.

New years resolutions don't have to go the way of the poodle skirt. You can set them, and you can achieve them. Just be realistic, take your time and get help.

You've got this!

picture used found on Health - Living Better

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