New Year Resolutions - Easy to Make, and Easy to Break Print E-mail
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Written by By Thamar Jones   
Thursday, 04 January 2018 00:00

People have been pledging New Year self-improvement for thousands of years. Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

It has since been a common practice for people all over the world to pledge to accomplish new things in the new-year as is evidenced here in the top ten list of things people want to change or accomplish in 2018

Top 10 New Year resolutions

1. Lose weight - 48%

2. Exercise more - 41%

3. Save more money - 32%

4. Improve diet - 31%

5. Something else - 22%

6. Pursue a career ambition - 15%

7. Spend more time with family - 14%

8. Take up a new hobby - 12%

9. Decorate at home - 11%

10. Cut down on alcohol - 9%

However, while many embark on their New Year to-do Lists with vigor on January 1st, the majority are broken just days later. In 2017, one in five people failed to keep to all of their resolutions in just the first week.

So what is the key to sticking to your resolutions and achieving your aims?

Here are nine tips I dug up from my favorite magazines and websites that can help you in achieving your goals in 2018.

1. Pick out the top five things you want to achieve then prioritize them.

2. It’s natural to slip up - but don’t let minor setbacks crush your plans.

If one day you don’t make it to the gym, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t use it as an excuse to beat yourself up and eat the cake in the cupboard. Instead, change your mindset and turn it into a definitive “critical moment”. Fit in a five-minute walk instead and get back to your gym routine tomorrow.

3. Reward yourself for success.

Don’t think of what you’re giving up, but what you’re gaining. For example, if you’re giving up smoking, save all the money you would have spent on cigarettes and spend the money on a holiday at the end of the year.

4. Buddy up with a partner - they can reinforce your resolution and share in your pain.

Appoint an accountability manager - a relative or a good friend who wants to see you succeed - you stand a much better chance of succeeding with someone keeping an eye on your progress.

5. It’s not always about giving something up.

Your resolution can be to start something new - a pottery class or salsa dancing. The key is for it to be something fun and constructive, plus you get to learn a whole new skillset at the same time.

6. Give yourself some additional motivation.

Yes, the spinning studio makes for a good selfie and will help to whittle your waistline but having a goal to keep fitness sociable will help keep you feeling excited and optimistic about exercise.

7. Have a “dream goal” and a “settle-for” goal.

Two goals are crucial for navigating your way to long lasting change. Losing two stone for Valentine’s Day is a big ask; initially committing to lose a couple of pounds a week, for at least six weeks through diet and exercise will get you good results that you’ll be happy with.

8.  Disconnect.

Social media and online connectivity are good things in many ways, but they are also disruptive of relationships and can be damaging to mental health. It is unrealistic to cut yourself off from all social media, but a small reduction is doable. Ring fence one hour per day when you disconnect - maybe first thing in the morning or during your journey to work - and read a book instead.

9. Conduct a friendship audit.

Isolation and loneliness are bad for both your physical and mental health. Taking time to reconnect with people who make you feel good and nurture your resilience is a powerful thing to do, and will set you up for the year.

With forward planning, a little will-power and plenty of determination, 2018 could be the year you achieve your goals. Good luck!