Goodbye 2015! Hello 2016!!
It’s time to ring out the old and ring in the new. Time to bid adieu to the year that was. A year of overindulgence and overwork, no exercise and no motivation, strained relationships and strained wallets. All this, despite those plans and promises you made at the start of 2015…
This year is different, you tell yourself. This year you will make a difference, you affirm. So how do you REALLY stick to your lofty goals to drop those Christmas kilos/take up a hobby/stress less/pay off credit card debt? How do you ensure that the New Year’s resolutions you’re about to make don’t fizzle out before the end of January 2016?
Choose ONE thing: Resist the urge to overhaul every single aspect of your life from your finances to your fiancé. Instead, aim to make just one small but significant change. Once you have conquered this, you can then move on to the next challenge.
Example: Rather than making changes to everything about your health, choose something simple. If you know you have been neglecting your oral hygiene, start flossing your teeth every morning or night. Or, if you know you eat way too much processed foods, start by including more whole foods in your diet.
Be specific: If you make resolutions that are too vague, they are guaranteed to fail. On the other hand, when you set your sights on a particular target, it is easier to stay focused.
Example: You want to lose weight. This is too broad (pardon the pun) a goal. Whittle this down to a specific goal of losing two kilos a month until you reach your goal weight. Maintain a food diary. Plan your meals and exercise routines in advance.
Set realistic goals: Ask yourself if your resolution is realistic and achieveable – without making any excuses. Think of all the possible hindrances that could foil your plans and pre-empt them with solutions beforehand.
Example: You plan to jog three times a week. Have you made allowances for bad weather? Can you workout indoors at a gym, fitness class or at home? Are you okay with jogging through a light drizzle?
Make yourself accountable: Write down your goals and revisit this list every month for a reminder. Say it out loud, like a mantra. Tell family and friends about your aims. They can be your support network and pull you up when you’re not sticking to the plan.
Example: You’ve decided to cut out soft drinks from your diet. Tell your co-workers/close friends/family, so that they do not tempt you to have a Coke (or a rum and Coke!) whenever you meet up with them.
Organisation is the key: Prioritise and diarise. Put down your plan on paper. Or better yet, make use of technology – there are apps for anything and everything.
Example: You want to spend more quality time with your spouse. Block out time slots in your diary. Roster a babysitter (or a neighbour) for monthly date nights with your partner.
Time is of the essence: Your goals need to have a time limit. Do you have a particular target you hope to achieve in two weeks/ two months/ six months?
Example: You’ve always wanted to learn the guitar. Give yourself a month to find a tutor. Make sure you budget for classes. Set aside specific times to practise.
Remember, if you fall off the wagon, don’t be hard on yourself. Get back on again straightaway. Don’t wait for next week to start afresh. And definitely don’t wait until the next new year rolls along.
Happy New Year!