New Year resolutions

New Year New You

Make sure this year is the year you want it to be with our 'How To' guide to make the most of your resolutions.

Most of us will make at least one, whether it is to earn more, drink less or even lose a few pounds. Nearly all of us take the beginning of a new year to focus on what we want to achieve.

In theory there is absolutely nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions. After all, focusing on change, looking closely at what we would like to achieve, and setting realistic goals for ourselves are all very constructive things to do – in principle.

The problem with this sort of resolution is that it rarely lasts. Most New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by the third week. Why is this? Well, there are many reasons, including setting unreachable goals, lack of willpower and not really wanting to complete the task.

Be realistic!

If we are going to set one, we should first focus on how we decide upon a realistic resolution. We must ask ourselves: is this resolution something I really want, or just something I feel obliged to do? If we do not want to give up our junk food, or get a better job, then we are far more likely to fail. If we know we want it, we next have to look at how we will go about achieving it – a resolution is hollow without an accompanying strategy. It might be that we resolve to overcome a phobia, or write a book; whatever the resolution, it will take work!

Time and dedication

No one wakes up on January 1st to miraculously discover their resolution has taken place! We must be prepared for it to take time, dedication and strength to achieve our goals, big or small. So, we must set our goals based on the time, dedication and strength we are prepared to exert to achieve them!

Take action

Now, once we have a goal and a plan (plus some determination), it is the time for action. Quitting smoking? Then join a group, get your patches, rip up your cigarettes (and e-mail Liz overleaf who is also trying to quit!) Eating more healthily? Then refill the cookie jar with fruit! 
A quote we love here at Mental Healthy comes from Anthony Robbins: “A real decision is measured by the fact you have taken new action. If there is no action, you haven’t truly decided”. It is very true: it is all well and good to prepare, to plan and to hope, but nothing gets done without action. 

Step by step...

Some things can be done in one go – ditching a boyfriend for example, but other things are a continuous ladder on which to climb. Looking for a promotion? Then why not get a new qualification, learn a new skill or brush up your CV? The ‘big promotion’ resolution itself may be at the very top of the ladder but brushing up your CV can be step one. Once you have achieved this smaller goal, you will feel proud, excited, and you will have achieved what you set out to do, propelling yourself into a constructive process of winning, ready to take the next step on the ladder.
On the other hand if we set our ‘big promotion’ resolution as the one and only thing that will give us a sense of achievement, we set ourselves up for disappointment should that promotion not materialise.This sort of failure can lead us into negative thought patterns. With a resolution such as a job or promotion, we are also factoring in other people. By taking a proactive role in our achievements, bettering our skill set and improving our prospects, we are in control of how much we achieve, and how quickly. 
Losing weight is another popular resolution, and this is a tangible, measurable resolution that we can break into chunks. If we want to lose a stone, we can first look to drop 4lb; when we have completed this step we can mark the achievement (not with a burger!) and set the next milestone. This way, if we lose 8lb we can be proud of achieving two goals, rather than beating ourselves up for not losing a whole stone. As long as we are fit and healthy and don’t need to diet for medical reasons, our goal might be to love ourselves just the way we are? Just a thought!

Happy New Year!

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