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How can I keep my New Year resolutions?

This is the time of the year when most of us reflect on the year just past, and look forward to the coming year. We take the opportunity to make plans to change something in our lives or ourselves that we’re not happy with. We make New Year resolutions in the belief that just by saying what we hope for, it will magically happen. Unfortunately, according to research, only 9.2% of us achieve our resolutions with 42% giving up after the first month. However, below are a few steps that will increase your chances of success.

Choose just one resolution

Resolutions are really just goals you set yourself, so the same advice applies to both. It is easier to achieve your resolution if your energy and focus are fully concentrated on just one goal. Take some time to think about what it is you really want. Something you feel passionate about or something you know will make a difference to your life. It can be as small a commitment or as big as you want. If after a month you are doing well you can always add more goals, but it is important that you feel in control and that you are well on your way to achieving your original resolution before adding more.

Make it achievable and specific

Your resolution should be challenging but yet achievable. Saying you want to lose 2 stone in a month is a dream not a goal. However, saying you want to be 2 stone lighter in a year is more realistic and therefore encourages you to keep going. If you reach your resolution in a shorter time period you can review or change it. Learn as much as you can about the area you have chosen – use books, websites or magazine articles. There are many online communities that enable you to communicate with like-minded people. The more knowledge you have the more you can anticipate obstacles or problems that may side track you.

Break it down into smaller steps

Write down your resolution and then break it down into smaller, detailed more achievable steps. Baby steps are the way forward and will stop you feeling overwhelmed. Regularly review the steps and scoring them off when you have achieved them is a great confidence boost. Also, if it’s written down it helps to be able to go back and reassess the steps if a setback occurs. Everyone slips up at some time, it’s inevitable, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. Try to understand what’s happened and why it’s happened and learn a few strategies of how to deal with it, if it happens again in the future.

Have a starting date

The problem with New Year resolutions is that you want to start them on the 1st of January. In reality you’ve probably been up late the night before seeing in the bells and your not feeling your best. It’s much better to pick a day when you don’t have a lot planned and you can concentrate fully on your goal. Getting off to a good start is important and if after the first week you feel you are doing well, it will make it seem less daunting to continue.

Rewards

Make sure you give yourself a reward when you reach a milestone. Watch a movie, read a magazine, buy some flowers. It doesn’t need to be something big, but it needs to be something you enjoy. It’s a way of encouraging you, but it’s also recognising what you have achieved so far.

Help

Keep a diary of how you’re doing. Make notes about how you feel, what you’ve found difficult, what you’ve enjoyed, how you’ve dealt with setbacks, inspirational quotes, anything that you think may help. Put prompts on your phone to inspire you through the day and remind you of what you are going to achieve. Tell friends and family about your resolution. They may give advice and encouragement, or may even offer to help. Stay away from negative people, at least for a little while, till you gain confidence in yourself and your belief that this time you are going to keep your New Year resolution.

Finally, from Pilates Scotland we wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year.

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