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How You Can Achieve Your Goals in 2016

Making New Year’s resolutions? Before you start your new routine, Sarah Liddy offers a little guidance and helpful tips on how to keep them.
The new year is upon us, and that means parties, champagne, celebrations and, of course, resolutions. Most of us make the same ones each year – quit smoking, lose weight, get fit, and build better relationships. Unfortunately, it seems that 80% of resolutions are doomed to failure within a couple of weeks, or even days. The good news is that by following some simple steps, you can greatly improve your chances of sticking to your plans and reaching your goals – whatever they are. Psychologist Alan Lyons offers the following advice to those of us hoping to make a change:
  1. The first step is to brainstorm all your potential goals for the new year, then choose the two or three most important ones – no more than that. A common cause of failure is trying to focus on too many different things at once.
  2. Next, break down the measures of success for each resolution. Let’s assume you want to lose weight. Choose a specific amount, say 10 kilos, then break that down into weekly targets so that it seems more manageable. Your measures of success should be predictable, measurable and influenceable. In other words, things that you have control over and that you can tweak if necessary.
  3. Now you need to create a “compelling scoreboard” – this means a clear visual of how you will track your success, such as a weight loss chart or diary. It should show where you are now, your target result, and the breakdown of goals along the way. Sharing this or making it publicly visible helps.
  4. Visualise what success will look like for you – a particular outfit you want to wear, fitting back into your pre-pregnancy jeans, or borrowing clothes from your skinny sister, for example.
  5. Finally, aim for a rhythm of accountability – this means regularly checking in with people with whom you have shared your goal (a weight loss class, gym buddy, etc).
According to Alan, you need to do more than just think about your goals, you must try to change your behaviour so that, in the example above, you behave like a person who is losing weight. Don’t give up if you have a bad day, or week – treat it as a temporary setback and keep going. This is why having a visual indicator of how much you have achieved works – you can see at a glance how far you have come on your journey, which helps you when the going gets tough! Positive resolutions tend to have more success than negative ones; so for example, you might be better off deciding to take up a new form of exercise rather than resolving to stop watching so much TV.
Finally, control what is controllable, and stop worrying about the rest. As Maria Robinson said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

About the Author

Journalist, author & mother of 3. Here to give us an honest insight into family life. 


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