The Best Way to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

So we are a week into the new year, 2012.

And what have you done? Did you make a resolution to lose weight, go to the gym daily, quit smoking, cut back on the alcohol or change some other damaging vice or bad habit?

Do you believe in making – and trying to keep, New Year’s resolutions? Or have you ‘been there, done that’ so many times without results that you just don’t bother any more?

I’m pretty much in the latter camp, but just recently I had a little ‘aha’ moment that I think could really help in achieving the things we would really like to change or improve in our lives in the year ahead.

Inspired by a comment on Goddess Leonie’s Facebook page, from one of her subscribers who was thinking of setting herself another group of mid-year resolutions, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps one of the reasons those great intentions we set for ourselves tend to fail, is because we give ourselves a WHOLE YEAR to achieve them

From personal experience, I am sure we all know that the tighter the deadline, the more likely we are to get stuff done. Hell, if the deadline is urgent enough we can achieve almost anything.

When you give this a little thought, I am sure you know this is true.

As the old adage goes, when you want something done, you give it to a busy person.

When we have an endless amount of time ahead of us to do whatever we want, we spend most of that time doing nothing … until we get very close to when that thing absolutely has to be done, and then we do it.

So how do we apply this insight to establish resolutions we can actually keep for 2012?

    1. Write down your list of what you would like to achieve this year in all areas of your life – work, home, social, spiritual, physical
    2. Put them into order of importance, with the highest priorities at the top of the list
    3. Now think about timeframes – you might want to group your items into things that are a one off, that simply need to be done so you can tick them off (like new experiences you want to try, stuff you want to get done at home or work etc) and things that are a longer term process, like reaching a goal weight, or seeing noticeable change in certain behaviours or habits. we all recognise that those things (unfortunately) don’t happen overnight.
    4. How many of the things on your list could you ACTUALLY do straight away? But maybe feel a bit silly doing right now, because after all you have a whole year, so what’s the rush?
    5. Now this might sound a bit radical, but if you have some stuff you could actually do right now … how about you step away from the computer, and go do at least one of them, right now?! don’t over think it, just make it happen. Now.

A wee musical interlude while you’re gone …

Ok, so you’re back? How was that? Did you get a buzz from doing something and being able to tick it off your list?

What next?

Well my suggestion is that you grab a calendar, or use one your Microsoft Outlook Calendar, or the Gmail calendar, depending on what you use most often to set reminders for yourself.

  1. Go through  the first four weeks, and set yourself four things to cross off your list. they will be a mix of the one offs, plus some steps towards the longer term goals/resolutions.
  2. Set reminders to pop up and hassle you, and if you are feeling really brave, set some up in a public forum like Facebook as events and invite people so they will ask you what you are doing and remind you to get it done.
  3. Make the last reminder of the month one to sit down, review the year’s resolution list and set yourself weekly tasks for the next four weeks.
  4. To really get yourself motivated and moving into change, invite a few supportive friends to do this with you. Set a monthly date to get together over wine or coffee and help each other establish four new tasks for the month.

Two techniques for success I learned years ago from the fabulous Barbara Sher, is that we achieve things when we have a) accountability to a team of cheerleaders who you really know have your back and b) structure to develop the steps involved in making something happen.

So write your list, involve friends, make yourself accountable – then let me know how it goes! I would love to hear what you think of this idea and how it works for you!

5 thoughts on “The Best Way to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions”

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  2. I agree, a whole year to accomplish something without a set of smaller tasks to complete can end up looking like failure waiting to happen. Thanks for the tips and laying it out for us with structure. Cheers to YOUR 2012!

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