Are you planning on making any New Year Resolutions for 2014? If you are then consider why it is necessary to spend more time considering how to keep your New Year Resolutions rather than what they are.
It is estimated that about half the population will commit to new year changes but maybe it is not so surprising to learn that most good intentions don't ever result in long lasting, positive change.
So why do we bother making such resolutions when we have such a high chance of being disappointed with ourselves when we break them? In fact, this raises a very important point about the habits we create in our lives. New Year Resolutions are usually about reforming old habits or achieving new goals. However, if we loosely create a whole bunch of unachievable or half-hearted resolutions that we fail to achieve then we are in fact creating a habit of failure. What started out as positive intentions for the new year actually end up causing longer term issues with feelings of self-doubt and lack of self-motivation.
Different views exist for how to make and keep the right type of New Year Resolution so that it becomes a long term reality. It would make sense that a person who has high levels of determination and willpower is more likely to achieve their goals but these character traits alone do not guarantee success and neither are a strict requirement.
A better approach accessible to everyone is the small goal and small win method which includes giving more focus on self monitoring rather than self control.
Small goals are realistic and must be genuinely important to you. Your heart has to be in it with enough desire to motivate you to pass beyond your comfort zone of normal. Your small goals must be practical and doable. If your goal is to lose weight and you have a figure in your mind such as 20kg's then break this down to 4 smaller goals of 5kg's each. Each goal can be reached sooner and will spur you on to make then next one.
Trying to impose self control on yourself can lead you to giving yourself a hard time with associated negative feelings, which is not a good strategy to keep your New Year Resolution.
Self monitoring is more about increasing self awareness and taking a more compassionate approach with yourself. It's not easy in our busy and highly distracted lives to recognise the emotions and thoughts that motivate our actions. 'Mindfulness' is all the buzz right now and is merely a modern label for self awareness and being present in the now - which you can develop through practices such as meditation and keeping a journal.
While developing your action plan for how to keep your New Years Resolution - self monitoring should be near the top of your list.
A few of the most popular resolutions each year are focused around health and wellbeing such as weight loss, to exercise more, quit smoking, or to eat better. In our view these are really worthwhile resolutions and support the many messages we try to express in our blog writing - that regular exercise is one of the best things we can all do for improving our health.
There are two fun and inspiring events coming up in the spring of 2014 that may very well be worthwhile goals to aim for as part of your health resolutions.
Phoenix Park, Dublin
Even if you only make one New Year Resolution for 2014 - make it one that means the most to you and which offers the most positive impact in your life.
We wish you the very best for 2014 - Happy New Year!
Robin & the rest of the team
Here is an honest and humour-filled resolution from a chap whose final resolution last year was to make no more resolutions.
I hereby resolve to be more present in the family. To get involved. To initiate activities. To be proactive. To bake cakes. To help more with homework. To take the children swimming. To put up shelves.
I hereby resolve to be honest enough to acknowledge that I'm probably not going to do any of those things.
Read his full list of resolutions at the Gaurdian
Be sure to watch Dr Mike's short youtube video about New Year Resolutions and who is more likely to succeed with their goals.