It’s that time of year. Many are making New Year’s resolutions in the hopes of starting anew and tossing bad habits aside, this January. But new goals can be hard to keep!
Some people seem to have the resolve of a tiger ingrained in their brain, but others may find it harder to keep those promises made to themselves, and toe the line when it comes to real change.
Here are some tried-and-true tips that can help to keep those resolutions in line like soldiers.
1) Exercise Your Willpower Like a Muscle
As stated above, it can seem like some people can naturally resist any size cookie or cigarette, all the time. But it’s not jut that they are born with tremendous will power-they’ve simply had the chance to exercise it more often in life.
Willpower, it turns out, is just like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Quickly.
Here’s an example: in an experiment done at Albany-State University of New York, researchers asked 122 smokers who were trying to quit to choose something extra to exert self-control over for, for two weeks. They were asked to either avoid sweets, or squeeze a grip strengthener for as long as they could, twice a day. As a result, 27% of those who performed the self-control exercises stopped smoking, versus 12% of those who didn’t have a self-control task to do.
So, pick your target, and double up for success.
2) Write Down Your Goal and Visualize It
Writing your goal down on paper fixes it in your subconscious. By keeping the paper you wrote it on in full view, you are constantly reminded of your pledge to meet that goal. Put it on your screen saver, if you have to.
3) Forgive Yourself
Allow yourself room for error with your resolutions. Nobody’s perfect. Just remember to keep trying and to get back on the horse if and when you fall off.
If you need to, adjust your goal to make it more attainable. If you meet that adjusted goal, re-adjust again to make it harder.
4) Be Specific
If you are going to commit to something like doing more exercise every week, choose which days you will do it on, at what time and where. This helps you to formulate a plan for success, and gives you less of a chance of backing out of your goal.
5) Find Your Cheerleaders
There will always be naysayers. Push them aside and find the people who are going to cheer you on and offer support when the going gets tough. It can be helpful to make your new goals known publicly as it adds pressure for you to meet them, but you want the right people to know.
Avoid the downers and you’ll find yourself soaring. Tip: some of the best cheerleaders can be those who are trying to meet the same goal as you. Those people are going through the same struggles you are-they know how hard it is!
You can support them as well and find inspiration in the way they tackle temptation. It’s win-win.