Make a Success of your New Year’s Resolutions in 2012

by ManoloMongeloes

Resolutions, like any goals or targets, require planning and determination. Take a look at these six top tips to make your New Year’s resolutions for 2012 a success.

At the end of each December most people commit themselves to a resolution for the following year. We may begin January with newfound confidence, but by the end of the year only around 12% of us will have stuck to our aims. If you want to succeed in 2012, take a look at these six tips for New Year’s resolution success.

Plan in advance

The winter holidays can be a hectic time so many people only put their minds to resolutions on New Year’s Eve. If you are serious about sticking to your resolutions in 2012, plan ahead. Deciding a target on December 31st will mean that your resolution reflects your mood on the day. Later in the year, after the excitement of the festive season, you may feel less enthusiastic.

Dieting is a common example. After festive gluttony and rich Christmas foods, a healthy diet reflects both a desire for change and a reaction to guilt. Later in the year high calorie foods will seem much more appealing. Write down your resolution well in advance of New Year’s Eve to make sure that it appeals to you consistently over time.

Be selective

Most of us can pick out an area of our lives that is in need of improvement. Perfectionists might be tempted to extend their lists, setting countless goals and targets for the year ahead. Ideally, choose only one New Year’s resolution from your list of options, or two at most (mine, for example, are to practice speaking English more and – I hope! – to meet someone special). Juggling any more than this will make them difficult to track. If you fail to abide by one resolution a domino effect might follow for the others. If you are lacking inspiration, read through a common ambitions list, such as the Life 100 list, for ideas.

How many resolutions do you make each year?

Be realistic

High hopes and ambitions for 2012 can work in your favour, but make sure you are being realistic. Quitting smoking is achievable, but alongside a strict weight loss plan your chances of success are reduced. Your resolutions can be introduced gradually throughout January to make the transition more manageable.

Be specific

Vague goals are prone to failure. In order to succeed, decide in advance what you want to achieve and set out a series of deadlines. If you’re in my situation, resolving to get back on the dating scene is a vague resolution. Make it specific by planning to investigate dating sites in the first week of January and become a member by week two. Target services with a lot of users in your area  and aim to go on at least one date by the end of the month. Breaking a goal down into smaller deadlines will increase your chances of success.

Get support

Facing any challenge is easier with the help of friends and family. Let people know what your resolution is and allow them to keep you on the straight and narrow. If you are giving up smoking, those around you who know can then be more considerate. They will stop offering you cigarettes and avoid smoking around you. Other support services, such as those provided by the NHS, can also help at the beginning of 2012.

Think long term yourself throughout the year as you meet significant milestones. Focus on the benefits of your resolution and plan a reward at the end of the year. If you have given up smoking then put the money to one side and save up for a weekend away. If you have reached your target weight then treat yourself to a couple of new items of clothing. Most people will slip up at some point, but this is not a failure if you persevere to achieve your long term goals.

Are there any alternatives?

A lot of people struggle with New Years Resolutions and others just plain and simply don't like them. On the eHarmony UK Facebook page they have ditched the New Years Resolution in favour of the more positive 'Life list'. This is a list of things that you (or in this case, their subscribers) want to achieve or experience that you keep written down. The idea is that it is a work in progress, so you can add to it when you have a new goal.

Resource box

Resolution success tips
BBC News reports on a study which shows planning in advance is key to resolution success.

Setting goals
Elizabeth Scott gives her advice for effective goal setting.

Mind tools
This article explores different types of goal setting, including personal and professional goals.

Updated: 12/13/2013, ManoloMongeloes
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ManoloMongeloes on 05/03/2012

@Martha Agreed, if your friends are willing to stick to the same resolutions as you it can be a lot easier! I guess the biggest challenge is when you're doing it alone.. If you want it hard enough, you just have to keep at it :-)

Martha on 05/01/2012

I find easy to come up with new year resolutions... the problem is making sure I stick to them! I think the best way to achieve them is by finding mates who are willing to stick to them with you :)

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