How best to keep your New Years resolutions.

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Posted on Monday, 8th January, 2018 - 16:24

According to a recent YouGov poll the most popular resolutions for this year are:

  1. Eat better
  2. Exercise more
  3. Spend less money
  4. Look after myself
  5. Read more books

These are all great things to focus on, but the problem is they’re all very broad. With 66% of people struggling to stick to their resolutions within the first month, how can you know if you’ll reach your targets.

It’s simple: treat them as your own personal Service Transition. Like any transition, you have to make sure all your resolutions – or goals – are SMART.

SMART goals

SMART goals are ones that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

This means you have targets to meet so you can see if you are on track or not to meet them. As you can see from the top 5 resolutions above, none of these are SMART, they’re far too generic. If you goals are this broad, try breaking them down into smaller, manageable chunks so you are not overwhelmed. Make sure during this time you keep a change management log, of the changes you are making and what has been successful and what hasn’t.

For example, if you want to exercise more, assess how much you are currently exercising, and how much you wish to increase it by. Make sure everything is realistic, so don’t try going from never visiting a gym to attempting to go every day for an hour long workout. You’ll do yourself far more damage in the long run and struggle to keep the habit.

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Instead, think in terms of Change Management and build up your exercise habits gradually. Try working out for 30 minutes once a week for an entire month, for example. Once you’ve managed this, you can re-visit your goals and adapt the frequency as required to achieve them. The key to a positive change is to do it with minimal disruption.

Make sure you give yourself regular progress catch-ups to review your change log and to see if you are on track and what your issues are with your current transition. During this time it is great to be honest with yourself and see what you have found works for you and what doesn’t and change your process accordingly.

Remember with habit-changing goals, try not to go cold turkey. It takes a minimum of 21 days to start forming a new habit, but it takes more than two months before it starts becoming an automatic behaviour.

The best way to make a habit can depend on the individual, but it really helps to set reminders for yourself so you remain focussed on your goals. It’ll be hard work, but keep in mind you’re trying to re-learn years of subconscious decision-making. You’re allowed to mess up every now and then, so don’t beat yourself up too much. Also, remember to reward yourself when you reach a milestone – you’ve worked hard to get there.

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