New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I’m posting this a day or so early as most of us, myself included, make resolutions on the New Year. I’m not normally a big fan of New Year resolutions, as while about 60% of us make them, only about 10% of the resolutions we make stick.  Partly this is because it’s something we do because everyone else is, rather than because we are ready to make changes.  Partly it’s because we make very general resolutions that are hard to achieve.  For example, “lose weight”, “take more exercise”, “get fit”, or something similarly vague.

If you do want to make an effective resolution there are two elements which will help it take effect.  The first is to be SMART about it (I’ll explain the acronym later), the second is to look at the beliefs which drive the behaviour or situation you want to change.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.  Rather than a vague resolution to lose weight, you might make it “to lose four pounds each month for the next three months, weighing myself once per week, achieved by increasing walking for half an hour each day on the way to work, while cutting out alcohol.”  Notice how specific the resolution is, and that it states what behaviour will change to achieve the targets.  It is also important that the changes made are small and also can be worked into your normal routine.  Most resolutions require us to change habits and often we’ll need the support of our significant others to do this, so tell them what you plan.

You may also need to look about what you believe about yourself to support a change in habits or reaching a target.  For example, if you believe you don’t have time to take exercise then you probably won’t.  Being busy is the modern curse, but really it is a question of what we prioritise in our lives.  You may have to spend some time thinking about what you believe and how you might sabotage a resolution.  Write it down so you can see it clearly.  Then write down a belief that will allow you to reach your goal.  “I am not too busy to take exercise.  I can easily take more exercise by leaving for work fifteen minutes earlier and walking rather than taking the bus.”  Pin it up where you can read it.

Wishing you the best of luck!

I work as a counsellor and coach in the Hungerford and Marlborough area, and also via Skype and telephone.

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