OK, so now we are well into the New Year. I am pretty positive that a few of us have already slackened out in our efforts or have given up on the trail entirely in frustration. Yes, we are all familiar with our New Year”s Syndrome. Clichéd as making and breaking them are, here are a few tips that will help you see results.
1. What do you really want to change? Resolutions should never be made in light vein. Think over what you would really like to change in the New Year. It would be helpful to see which area of your life needs changing by simply gauging its undesirable effect in your daily life. If something is seriously bothering you or a condition is affecting your self-esteem or health, you must take it to be a problem area to resolve.
2. Start with a small and simple resolution preceding the BIG one: One trick is to precede a simple and easy to achieve resolution before tackling a big one. Once you see yourself succeeding with it and feel good about yourself and life, you will be encouraged to take on the more serious resolution. So instead setting yourself up for failure, you have created a mind advantage for yourself already and have better chances to see success.
3. Work out your plan: I would not suggest adopting very broadly-stated goals like, ‘I will get healthier or fitter this year”. You must have action plan in place chalking out how precisely you want to go about it. What would you want to include in the areas of food, exercise, emotional balance and spiritual work etc.
4. Break your plan into small sets: Once you have identified the areas that require work, then you should break it up into measurable units. Continuing on the ‘healthier and fitter” resolution, you must be able to break down the exercise sub-areas into things you want to include there, such as cardio exercises, resistance exercise, strength training, interval training or types of exercises such as treadmills, biking, swimming, kickboxing etc. You can include which day you want to do which exercises and for how long. You can include other details that will reduce the seeming enormity of your resolution.
5. See that no drastic lifestyle changes are called for: One sign of an unrealistic resolution is one that calls for drastic lifestyle changes. If you have been smoking a pack of cigarettes everyday and expect to reduce it to zero on January 1, you are setting yourself up. See that smoking is reduced first and tapered off to zero backed by joining support groups and taking on extra activities and hobbies as well as ways to deal with urges to smoke many times in the day.
6. Set realistic time frames: Your expectation on how soon you will have your results should be realistic as well. Don”t expect things to change overnight. Any change brought about after following a life-time of undesirable habits will be difficult. So take one day at a time. Set small milestones.
7. Keep a journal: Keeping a record of activities through the day helps at many levels – First, it helps you see if you have done what is required for the day that enables you to move closer to your goal; second, it helps you plan the next day accordingly and third, it helps you chart your progress at a glance at the end of the week.
8. Reinforce through celebrations of smaller milestones: When you achieve small milestones, celebrate it in a good and healthy way. Talk about it to your friends or at your support group meetings. Pat your own back and yes, you may indulge once in a while.
9. Be flexible – Do it rather than think and guilt it: Don”t” flog yourself over small slip-ups. The idea is to remain on track. If you are stuck late at your office and cannot manage to go to the gym on a day, make sure you go for a walk post dinner or workout the next day before the day begins.
10. Have a Plan B: Should a situation so arise that keeps you from moving closer to your New Year”s resolution goal, such as a week-long office tour or sickness of a loved one at home, you must have a Plan B to execute. It will work as a safety net and will give you the feeling of productively utilizing your time while you were accidentally kept away from working on your resolutions! Good Luck!