Tips for sticking to your New Year goals

Happy New Year! Most of us like to see a new year as a new chapter opening in the book of our lives. At this point we can all agree that 2020 wasn’t the sweetest year. For many, being cooped up for so long in a COVID-induced lockdown put a lot of plans on hold in 2020. It is only normal that there are lots of ponderings going on in your mind on how to make 2021 a year to bounce back. This could mean drawing up a list of New Year’s resolutions that is longer than usual, at least to cover for the plans put on hold in 2020.
Chances are that at some points in your life, you have made a New Year’s Resolution and then broken it. The University of Scranton’s research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year resolution which means 92% of resolutions fail. Further research has shown that most people ditch their resolutions before Valentine’s Day.
Here are some tips that could help you stop the cycle of not following through with your goals.

Set goals, not resolutions
Committing to a New Year Resolution is a good start; it signifies a will to want to achieve new things which is a good thing. However, the word resolutions sound like it must be all or nothing, black or white. It sounds like “I must lose weight this year” Researchers have discovered that that the words used to capture an experience influences how the brain processes it and responds to it. When it sounds too vague, it becomes unattainable and scary. Resolutions make you focus on what you don’t want to than what you and this makes it harder to sustain the resolutions for the whole year. Perhaps that’s why only 8 percent of people who make a New Year’s resolution actually keep it.

Create a measurable goal
When setting goals it must be measurable and specific. It is too vague to set goals like “I want to get healthier,” or “I want to get out of debts.” Goals like this are intangible and could cause you to feel lost at during the year. Instead set goals like “I want to go to the gym four nights per week” or “I want to save 30 percent of my income every month and invest 20 percent in real estate or the equities market”. This way, it is measurable, specific and time bound.
Understand your “why”
When you set goals but you do not have a tangible reason why you are setting the goal, it becomes harder for your mind to follow through especially on days you do not feel like working towards the goal. For instance, it is good to understand that you want to weight loss for better health. Knowing why you started in the first place, will increase your success rate and your satisfaction when you reach your goal.

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Chunk stuff down
If you have a big goal for 2021, make sure you break it into multiple steps. It is also important to start small and with baby steps, you could start with going to the gym twice a week although the goal is four times a week. If you are trying to eat healthier, start by replacing some of your favourite less healthy food with nutritious foods. After that, you could start with portion control, then cut back on fried foods.
Write your goals down and put it where you can see it everyday
Waking up to see your goals on your wardrobe or wall helps to remind your everyday of the goals you have set. It reduces the chances of forgetting or getting distracted. It is also helpful to visualize yourself accomplishing your goal and celebrating your success.

Share your goals with a friend
Share your decision to change with friends and family who can offer support when you’re wavering and encouragement when you’re doing well at sticking to your goal. Also, it helps when you are accountable to someone other than yourself about your goals.

Treat your goals as a marathon not a sprint
Slow and steady habits are usually more sustainable and effective than I want to do it all now! Mentality. Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Be flexible with your goals; don’t let obstacles stop you from working towards your goals.
I wish you a good year ahead; I hope you achieve all your goals. Welcome to 2021!

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