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A new year and new you – keeping to your new year’s resolutions. I hope that you decided that 2022 is going to be YOUR year – a year where you transform your old habits into new ones. And the year where you actually keep your new year’s resolutions! But to achieve this you need to make take a firm decision, draw up an action plan and set a deadline to change your negative habits into positive habits.

According to Jordan Ring  “A failure to take precise and deliberate action is the reason why so many New Year’s resolutions and other goals fail.”  Here are some helpful tips on how to make this your best year!

10 Tips on how to keep your new year’s resolutions.

“Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail? Because they are only a statement, or what we wish for in the coming year. There are usually no action plans, no deadlines, no backup plans. Sometimes they are unrealistic resolutions, with no other thought or plans beside the statement,” said Catherine Pulsifer.  The first decision to make is to determine if you are truly  willing to commit to changing your habits. If you are, these practical tips will be helpful:

  1. Be realistic. J. Scott said in his book, Resolutions That Stick!, that “Instead of trying to change your entire life in January, the simpler strategy is to adopt a 12-month plan where you’re making constant improvements.” Think long and hard about what you want to achieve during 2022. Analyse what goals are doable on a monthly basis and what is realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure from the start. [The lovely planner that the SACBW produced contains a special page where you can list these goals.]
  2. Set fewer goals and choose the right ones. Don’t overdo it by keeping an extensive list of demands you have for yourself. Pick 1 or 2 smaller things to start off with and build on that. Succeeding with baby steps day by day, month by month, will help you walk “the-cultivating-good-habits-road” easier and make achieving your goals more feasible.
  3. Have a strategy. “Don’t make resolutions without an action plan. The secret to success is right in your hands,” according to Allen Shaw. Consider it from all angles and plan for, for example, on how to fight temptation.  What would you use as motivation to keep going? Who can help you? What is your backup plan? There was a reason Benjamin Franklin said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
  4. Focus on positive self-talk. The only person who can achieve the resolution is you. It’s always easier to focus on our weaknesses when we should promote and build on our strengths. It’s vital to be mindful about your self-talk and self-motivation. Nicole Marie B. explained it very well when she advised “Add the word yet when you find yourself saying you can’t…I’m not there, yet. I can’t do that yet. I’m not brave enough, yet. No matter what it is, you will get there…” The mind is powerful and if you keep filling it with negative thoughts, and talk down to yourself, your mind will start believing what you tell it to believe.
  5. Track your progress. “A goal is a dream with a deadline,” according to Napoleon Hill. Set smaller deadlines along the way making it realistic and achievable and be strict with yourself to keep to the deadlines in order to remain focused and determined.
  6. Put a reward system in place. A reward at the end of the tunnel helps keep you focussed. Rewards are a way of giving you a return on investment! If your goal is, for example, to exercise every day or eat healthier, allow yourself a ‘day off’ as a “well done” pat on the back.
  7. Don’t obsess, fix it. Don’t obsess if you have slip-ups here and there. Fix it and move on as what  is done is done, but at least learn from it. If you learn and constantly try your best not to mess up again, you have made considerable progress.
  8. Be committed to the goal. Devote yourself to your goal. Consciously make a firm decision that this is what you want and stay committed. People say that it takes 20-21 days to form a habit. Make your goal part of your lifestyle, then it will become part of your personality, which will make it easier to achieve.
  9. Continuously re-evaluate. Ask yourself questions to get to the route of the problem why your progress is not where you want it to be. Then decide, is it an excuse or a real problem. Don’t talk down to yourself but be assertive about the commitment of reaching the goal. by trying  to find solutions that can help you overcome these challenges.
  10. Attitude is key. In the end it comes down to the reason you started with something, but you did not finish it: your attitude towards making the change. Like Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Change is a Good Thing

Like many others around the world, you decided to make new year’s resolutions to change something you are unhappy about. Something you want to fix or transform in your life. Change is a good thing, especially if it is an improvement.  For those of you who think making resolutions is a dumb idea because no one ever sticks to them, we leave you with this quote from Thomas A. Edison, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Don’t give up. If you really want to make that change, make that firm decision, set the goal, strategize, set a deadline then act with the right mental attitude.

*The Mindspa Institute offers various soft skills training courses. For more information on our course outlines, please visit www.themindspa.co.za or email enquiries@themindspa.co.za

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