This is the second of the blogs about tips to make your New Year’s resolutions stick.
By now you are probably back in the routine of work, and your holidays are unfortunately a distant memory. Perhaps even the New Year’s resolutions that you were so enthusiastic about have also gone the same way. If so, here are some tips to revisit those commitments and make them stick.
5. Create thoughts and feelings that will assist. Visualise having achieved the goal. See your new behaviours working. Feel how proud you are of your achievement. Regularly revisit these thoughts and feelings to keep your end-goal strong in your mind. When battling to finish my book on resilience, it was really helpful to imagine holding the printed book in my hands, thinking what I will do with it and how people will use it to develop their resilience. This helped me thorough several bouts of writers block.
6. Seek the help of others. Other people will gladly help you make desirable changes in your life. Choose a person whom you trust, and ask them to assist you to be accountable to yourself for the change. They could remind you of your goal, or help you measure its attainment, or celebrate its achievement with you. With technology, the help could be on Facebook. Self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are effective because they are based on people supporting each other. (I am sure you remember this point from the Building Resilience Principle Reach out to Others)
7. Avoid the triggers of the old behaviour. It’s very important to avoid the things that lead you to back-slide or repeat the old undesirable behaviours. So for me, when I am tired, hungry, stressed or multi-tasking, I know that I am at increased risk of back-sliding on my New Year’s resolutions. What are your triggers that lead to the old undesirable behaviours?
8. Be kind to yourself when you slip. Like charity, kindness begins at home. That means being kind and patient with yourself when you back-slide or miss your goals. Reframe failure as a lesson you learn from. I try to set goals that make me stretch, rather than easy goals that don’t take me out of my comfort zone. I tell myself that if I am not missing some goals, then I have set my sights too low. It’s then easy for me not to be harsh on myself when I miss my targets.
9. Celebrate small wins. Reward yourself for sticking to your commitments. Now this does not mean binging on chocolates if you have succeeded in losing a few kilograms! Rather, go out with your close friends to a movie, or take Saturday morning off to have coffee with an old acquaintance. I often celebrate my small wins by going for a long walk on the Fish Hoek beach where I reflect on what I have achieved since the last walk.
10. Take one small step to re-energise your New Year’s resolutions. Now! Commit yourself to doing one small thing right now to re-start your most important goal. Don’t get caught up in designing big plans for complex change – rather focus on one small thing you can do to make a positive change. Once you do that, you will see how easy the next steps are.