Ditch the resolutions and achieve your goals!

How many New Year resolutions have we all made and broken over the years? And, no matter how often we demonstrate to ourselves that they don’t work, why do we still keep on trying?


Just think about it… it’s always a downward spiral: we resolve to give something up, we don’t manage it, we feel bad about ourselves and think we must be weak or lacking in will power. Then we probably go back to our old habits for comfort and are convinced that there’s no hope of improvement.


But we keep on trying because we so badly want things to be better and they can be: with a different starting point, it can all be so much easier.


The first step is to stop making resolutions. The whole idea is off-putting and the word itself could have been designed to make you feel depressed before you even start.


“Resolution” conjures up a picture of bracing yourself, gritting your teeth and squaring up to something difficult. “Promise” is a much more positive word: it matters how you talk to yourself about these things and the word has so much more – well, promise about it, don’t you think?


Rather than making a resolution, make a promise to yourself that you’ll work towards your goal and make sure that the goal you’re working towards is an enticing one. Once you’ve chosen something that will stretch you (although not unbearably) and fixed the timescale for it, work backwards from that date and decide when you’ll achieve each interim step. Now you’ve got a plan to get you to your goal. Remember to reward yourself for each step as you achieve it.


And if “resolution” is a hard word, telling yourself that you’re “giving something up” is another quick way to shoot yourself in the foot. It sounds too much like losing something. Think of it as moving on from something, an old habit that no longer serves you or something you’ve grown out of.


So leave the resolutions behind and make yourself a promise that you’re going to move forward to your chosen goal. (Remember to write it down – somehow that makes it more of a commitment to yourself.)

Plan your interim mini-goals and timings, reward yourself as you achieve each one and, come December 2012, you could be looking back and congratulating yourself on all you’ve achieved.
 

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