10 tips to sticking to your resolutions

By now most people will have had at least a fleeting thought about a New Year resolution. Even if it is only to firmly commit to not bothering to make one this year.

Maybe New Year resolutions should be relabelled January resolutions, since the first month is often how long they last. (That’s actually not such a bad idea!)

My take on New Year resolutions, which I explore fully in my book ‘Making your New Year resolution work for you‘ [£4.99 on Amazon), is that behind every New Year resolution there is a bigger picture goal that drives it. Unfortunately we don’t tend to make that conscious connection between say, giving up chocolate (small picture resolution), and becoming fit and healthy (big picture goal). When we say we are going to stop smoking and use the money to save (small picture resolution) we are not necessarily fully connected to becoming financially independent (big picture goal).

Yet a resolution can be a really powerful tool if we can get the leverage to stick to it and having that connection to our big picture is part of how we can achieve that. In achieving our ultimate aims in life small steps are good. All we need is to find that driving ‘yes’ that makes us recognise their value and follow through.

So if you do decide to commit to a resolution this year why not connect first to what you really value in life – your family, friendships, a fulfilling career, travel and adventure. Find out the big picture goal that would help bring these things into reality, and then focus on a small promise that takes you one step closer.

Some tips to keeping your resolution longer:

1. One resolution only.
2. Really vividly imagine what living that big picture is like AS IF YOU HAVE IT NOW!
3. Take small steps, don’t try to do too much too soon.
4. Tell others on whose support you can rely.
5. Reward your progress without breaking the rules (no sweet treat rewards for sticking to a diet).
6. Join a group of others who are doing the same thing.
7. Find out as much as you can about the experiences of others who have achieved what you want to achieve.
8. Connect a habit to another habit (exercise while making breakfast for example).
9. Make it hard for yourself to do the thing you know you shouldn’t do (e.g. don’t keep cigarettes in the house).
10. Avoid the company of naysayers and saboteurs if possible.

Robert Sanders is a therapist and life coach, supporting people in their present and helping them create their future.

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