How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Woman riding DAHON folding bikeDec 31 2015 – The key point in making new year’s resolutions is ‘to thine own self be true’. That is to say, you need to know your own motivations as well as your weaknesses. Why are you even making a new year’s resolution in the first place? With that in mind, here are a few thoughts to help you stay on track with your goals.

1) To share or not to share? I know myself, and I really don’t like to share my personal resolutions, when I do make them. In some ways it makes them feel more special and of course, there’s that fear that it might not work out. On the flip side, telling someone else can be exactly the kick in the rear you need to make sure you do your 5k a day or whatever it is. A burden shared is a burden halved as they say. Chatting with your friend about your progress and pitfalls can help re-energize you and problem solve. You might even have a cycling buddy you can get competitive with and help drive each other. Just make sure the feeling’s mutual otherwise they might not be your buddy come next new year!

2) Quantifiable or abstract? Do you thrive on charting your progress with numbers, calories and percentages? There are endless apps and gadgets to keep you on track, and we’re not going to go into recommending any here. The point is about knowing yourself. Some people might feel trapped by those fixed targets, and once you slip a little it can seem like all is lost. Now, this is not an excuse to pack it all in just because you got a little behind. The point is knowing how you are likely to feel and react. Would you be better off resolving to do something less black and white in terms of failure? So resolving to do some volunteer work could mean helping out at a local project for an afternoon, or going half way around the world for a year with a charity. Both of these will have a positive impact on yourself and others. Choose to do what you can according to your means and circumstances.

3) Think big? New year’s resolutions have come about because this time of year is unavoidably a time to take stock of your life. You think about where have you been and where you are going. It can be too easy, especially after a glass of bubbly, to make some grand proclamation. Maybe this really will be the year that you write a book, or build your own house – people do these kinds of things all the time – but if it occurred to you in the spur of the moment in the clamour of the NYE countdown it’s not likely to be realistic. Break the idea down a little and start there. So if you are buzzing from the thought of building a house, start with signing up for a plastering course or some other practical skill. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step (or a single revolution of the crank for most of us).

As to why we make new year’s resolutions, it would be almost impossible to go through life without having some ideas about what you want to do, and deciding to do it. As mentioned above, when the year is coming to an end it’s only natural to look both forward and back, to reflect on both the good and the bad. The bad is there to learn from, and that’s exactly how to make sure you make resolutions you can keep.

Of course, there’s no reason to limit setting personal goals to the New Year. Success breeds success; that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from achieving what you set out to do should spur you on to aim for more. When you look back at the end of 2016, hopefully you won’t be brushing last year’s resolution under the carpet, but thinking about how it set you on the right track to get the best out of life.

And if you want to know what my resolution is, I feel like I need to brush up on my bicycle maintenance skills, so I’ll be signing up to a short class.