How to stick to (and keep) your New Year's Resolutions
Chief among all New Year's resolutions is the promise to oneself to get fitter. Gyms and health clubs see a surge in memberships at the beginning of January.
Treadmills, cross trainers and bikes across the country are occupied by the unfit and the fat.
There's no other place this urge to be healthy is more visible than your local running club. What was once a communal affair with a handful of amateurs, is now a 1,000-strong event complete with banners, floats and registration. All gear is new and for many, it is the first time they have worn trainers.
The commitment lasts around three weeks before excuses overpower effort.
But we've put together five sure-fire ways to stick to your goals and not be a quitter.
The key to reaching a goal is being specific. If you hope to lose weight do not write: 'Look less like a bin bag full of yoghurt'. Think in pounds or inches (if it's your waist) and have a concrete and clear target. 'Three pounds in the next month' is far more viable than something vague and idealistic.
It's much easier to achieve an aim if we measure it. Sure you may feel you should be 'kinder to the general public' but that's hard to track. Goals that are visible and thus measurable are more likely to be achieved.
For example, if you're trying to quit smoking or reduce your number of weekly pints, then progress (or lack of progress) would be easily trackable. There are countless apps which track progression. MyFitnessPal has the 'Progress' option which allows users to keep a photo diary of their weight loss with corresponding body stats.
There are tens of goals we wish to achieve. Most usually revolve around money, career and image. For many, those three represent the wish for more status. In any case, don't set aims which you are doomed never to achieve. Having your boss's job is commendable but giving yourself five years to do this is overly ambitious. Instead, think next step up within 12 months, either from staff member to team leader or team leader to team supervisor etc.
Resolutions must have the right intent behind them. They must be resolutions that you want to do. If you were recently dumped because an ex said she wanted to date an adrenaline junkie, then don't set yourself 500 bungee jumps before Easter to prove a point. Goals set for the wrong reasons rarely last long. They should be relevant to you and make a positive impact on your life.
Similar to being realistic, the time frame which you give yourself should correspond to your goal. A New Year's resolution doesn't have to be completed within the year, only that by the end of it you are at the appropriate stage of completing your aim. Break resolutions into smaller goals giving yourself more doable deadlines. It's all about baby steps.