Stick to your New Year’s resolutions: a step-by-step guide

Make 2017 the year you achieve that elusive goal once and for all with our eight-step plan

Resolutions often become a bit of a running joke as you end up making the same ones every year, which defeats the point of them somewhat.

But you’ve got the chance now to really make them happen with a little help from our step-by-step guide…

1. Be realistic

First of all, make sure you’re really ready to make the change. If you’re going through a tough time it may not be the best chance for you to give up chocolate, for example.

Also, if you have a particularly big goal, such as reaching your ideal weight, ease up on your other resolutions, like to stop biting your nails. We’re all allowed our vices and you can always deal with that next year…

2. Celebrate an existing achievement

To get yourself into a positive mind-set, take a moment to reflect on a previous success, even if it seems small or unrelated. For example, it might be that you recently helped your child learn their times-tables, or you did a great job decorating the spare room. Seeing what you have achieved will help you to have more faith in what you can achieve in the future.

3. Write it down

Writing down your goal will help make it more tangible. You could write it on several Post-it notes and stick it around the house to remind yourself of it daily and gain the support of your family.

4. Do your research

Think about what you need to achieve your goal. If it’s losing weight, visit your local fitness centre or look up cycle routes near your home. If you need money to achieve your dream, come up with a monthly budget plan so you can save a little each month until you have what you need, and so on.

5. Pace yourself

Don’t push yourself to do it all at once. Plan where you want to be in a year and break it down into manageable chunks, whether that be small, daily steps, or monthly must-dos. Then make a note of where you want to be at the end of each month so you can compare your real-life progress.

If you want to give up a bad habit and you have unsuccessfully tried going cold turkey in the past, try cutting down at first and then gradually phasing it out of your life completely by a realistically set deadline.

6. Review your progress

Keep a pin board or file where you can keep track of your progress. When you’re feeling demotivated, sit down and take a look at the steps you’ve taken already and celebrate those successes. Think creatively about what you can do to resolve any setbacks or overcome challenges and get back on your way.

7. Find a goal buddy

Couple up with a friend or family member who wants to achieve a goal too – it doesn’t have to be the same goal as you, but you can help keep each other on track and support each other’s progress.

8. Get exercising

Even if your goal isn’t fitness related, make sure you exercise at least three times a week as this helps keep your energy and motivation levels high. A good walk or a swim will make you feel fresh, energised and good about yourself.

For more tips, see our articles on learning to run, starting your own business, saving money, improving your sports technique or revamping your home.

Good luck!

What are your tips for achieving your goals? Let us know in the comments section below.