How to stick to your new year’s resolutions
From fitness to your finances, the new year is a perfect opportunity to start afresh and get your goals back on track.
As the year starts to wind down and we get closer to 2020, you might start reflecting on previous months – on all the things you said you'd do but didn't. Whether it was joining a gym, trying your hand at sober September or finally getting on top of your credit card debt, if you failed in 2019, 2020 is your year to get motivated.
Setting goals can be daunting but it probably helps to know you're not alone. In fact, according to Finder research over three-quarters of Australians will be making lifestyle changes this coming year. If you need a little inspiration for your own resolutions the research found that Aussies' top aspirations are health, travel and financial fitness.
While most of us start off strong, only a small portion will actually see these resolutions out till the end. So if you are thinking of setting yourself some new year's goals, here are some tips on how to make them stick.
Keep them achievable and realistic
There's no point in making a goal if it's impossible to achieve. You need to be honest with yourself and set some targets that are actually realistic – you don't want to end up with resolution burnout by Easter. The Finder research shows that 53% of Australians want to improve their fitness or lose weight in 2020. You're not going to go from fitness first timer to Usain Bolt in a matter of weeks. The more achievable your goals are the more likely you'll be to reach them. Alternatively you can set smaller targets and build onto your goal as the year progresses, which leads to the next point.
Go in with a plan
The best way to actually stick to your resolutions is to create a plan on how you're going to achieve them. While setting a goal is a great start it shouldn't stop there; you'll be more likely to work towards achieving it if you have a gameplan. This might include splitting your goal into more manageable targets. Finder's research shows that getting financially fit and overcoming debt is a goal for over one in five Australians this year. For some, this might seem daunting, but once you break it down into smaller parts it becomes easier to digest. To start, you might set yourself the goal of consolidating your debt and then chip away at it over time. Alternatively, you might start paying off your highest balance first. Each time you pay an account off you feel the satisfaction of hitting a target and are more motivated to move forward.
Don't keep them to yourself
The more people you tell, the more there are to keep you accountable. Research shows 35% of Australians want to travel more this coming year; if that sounds like you and you're planning to save for the adventure of a lifetime, why not make it a group trip? There's strength in numbers so if you can surround yourself with others embarking on the same mission, you will become more motivated.
Procrastination is the killer of most goals, and new year's resolutions are no different. How many times have we caught ourselves saying I'll start saving money tomorrow, or next week, or next month but we never actually get there? Many new year's resolutions are probably the failed-to-launch goals from the previous year – starting is often the hardest step. According to Finder's figures, 1 in 10 Australians want to cut down on how much alcohol they drink. It's easy to put this off, especially during the warmer months during party season but once you start the easier it gets. General consensus says it takes around 21 days to form a habit, so if you start off strong and stick it out for three weeks you'll likely keep it going for the year.
Another way to stay motivated is to reward yourself for small accomplishments. Almost half of Aussies want to eat better in 2020 but that shouldn't mean cutting out treats completely. If your goal is to eat healthier and shed a little bit of the Christmas weight you should reward yourself for every milestone you reach. For example, indulge in a small piece of chocolate cake every Sunday night if you've managed to keep your eating habits healthy that week, or buy yourself a new set of gym shorts if you exercise a set number of times in the month. These small rewards make it easier to stay on track and work towards your overall goal.
The new year is a time to turn over a new leaf and start setting goals for the year ahead. While it can be hard sticking them out, simply starting is a big feat. By making your goals realistic, breaking them down into more achievable parts and rewarding yourself when you hit these milestones, you'll be bound to accomplish them.