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11 Tips to NOT Fail Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year

If you usually fail your New Year's resolutions... If you usually fail your New Year's resolutions, this one is for you

A year ago you were somewhere else. Now you’re here. Where will you be a year from now?

Here are 11 tips on how NOT to fail your New Year’s resolutions this year:

  1. It’s irrelevant which day you set a goal

    Even though New Year’s is a good time to think about the past year and the coming one, setting a goal is something you can do anytime.

    Just because it’s “common practice” doesn’t mean that it’s wise. Set a goal when you’re ready for it, make a plan, and stick with it.

  2. Make a plan as soon as you possibly can

    The sooner you can make a plan, the better. If you aren’t an expert in a field, find one who can guide you.

    Without a plan, your gym membership won’t mean anything. And you’ll just end up without any results (no matter what your goal is) and become frustrated instead.

  3. Follow it

    This is easier said than done. Having a plan without following it is like making a sandwich without eating it. What’s the point??

    That’s also why you have to make a realistic plan. Don’t set the bar too high before even starting – you can always do something more or better later on.

    Right now the important thing is to get into the habit and just do it.

  4. Take a step back

    Instead of setting a resolution for getting something like that job promotion you have been wanting for the past months, try to take a step back and see the bigger picture instead.

    Reflect on what you really want. You might just realize that a promotion actually wouldn’t change the fact that you aren’t that interested in your work – and would rather do something entirely different.

  5. Be honest with yourself

    The most important thing when setting a goal is to be honest with yourself right from the beginning. Before setting a goal, you have to be very clear on the why and the what. Why are you doing this? What’s your real motivation? And is this the best way to go about it?

    The classic example is on losing weight. You may want to lose five pounds, but what’s the best way to go about it? There are several options.

    Choosing to start a running regimen spanning over 16 weeks with 4 grueling sessions a week might not be necessary – and definitely not if you hate running.

    Simply going for an one hour walk three times a week might be sufficient – or just avoid eating a bag of Dorritos every night.

    So first you have to be clear on what you want. And then why you want it.

  6. Is this what you want?

    If it’s your friends, your girlfriend, your family or society as a whole who wants something for you, you have to be really careful. Even though what they think is important, you have to be the one who wants something, not them.

    The motivation has to come from within.

    You are the one who has to want it. And you have to want it bad.

    Be clear on the why, too. Wanting to lose a few pounds because you want to look good this summer is great. But what about wanting to lose a few pounds because you don’t want to have such low self-esteem?

    This is where honesty kicks in again.

    Wanting to get a bigger income is great. But if you only want a bigger income so you can buy a bigger car so you can get a girl who then only likes you because you’re rich… It might be useful to reconsider.

  7. Know that it’s not free

    Nothing is free in this world, and if you want something bad, you have to pay the price. Everything has consequences.

    If you want to spend more time on anything, that time has to come from somewhere else. Less sleep, less TV or less time with your family – that’s up to you.

    Don’t be scared of by it, just be aware that if you’re starting on some plan that will have you spend 10 hours a week on something, that time won’t be free.

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s any less worth it.

  8. Start with the smallest manageable step

    If you’re starting on something that gives you just the slightest feeling of overwhelmingness, start with the smallest step.

    I hate waking up in the morning. Knowing that I have a long day in front of me is not the nicest thought when I am all cuddled up in my pillows, I’m tired, and my girlfriend has another 30 minutes before she has to get up.

    So that’s why I just start with telling myself that I’ll take one leg out of the bed.
    And then the other.
    And suddenly, I’m up!

    If I had “started” with “getting up, I probably would have slept a few more hours. But if I start with a very small step, like taking one leg out of the bed, the next step suddenly seems easier.

    It works with everything – see this blog post called “A Bulletproof Technique for Meeting More Women, Writing Job Applications and Getting Things Done” for more.

  9. Go slow

    Going slow is just as important as starting with the smallest step. If you go slow, you’re in it for the long run.

    Going slow will show yourself and others that this is the new you – whatever it is – and that it’s going to stay.

    If you try to power through by doing something extreme, it most likely won’t stick. I am talking from experience here.

    Crash diet? Won’t work in the long run.

    A small lifestyle change? Massive impact over time.

    A few small lifestyle changes will trump crash strategies every time.

  10. Use punishments and rewards

    Most goals and plans work the best when there are real rewards for doing what you want to do and real punishments if you fail.

    It has been shown time and time again that people in general care more about losing a dollar than earning one. Taking something from someone means much more than giving the same amount.

    But I like to use both a reward and a punishment when it comes to goal setting – only using punishments for motivation is just plain cruel.

    Like: “If I follow through with my plan and stick to doing x for y weeks, I will treat myself and my girlfriend to eat at my favorite restaurant and get the big a** steak and take three days off from work and do nothing but watching Californication. But if I fall off the plan, I have to donate $100 to Scientology.”

    Anything goes, really, as long as the reward is something you really want and the punishment is something you really don’t want.

  11. Have someone hold you accountable

    This ties in with the punishment part of tip 10.

    If no one know’s what you’re doing, why you’re doing it or what will happen if you don’t, the chance of actually following through with it will be minuscule. (Statistically speaking, of course, I know that you have the will-power of a mountain..)

    So get someone to hold you accountable. It can be your partner, your friend or a family member. It can even be someone you don’t know personally – like me or the Just Keep The Change community.

  12. So let’s hold each other accountable. Let’s revisit this post on January 2013 in 255 days.

    Write your New Year’s resolution in the comment section so we can all help each other. I’ll go first.

    Oh. And that reminded me. It’s actually very very important to be able to track progress on whatever it is that you want to do. Not all things are trackable by nature, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

5 thoughts on “11 Tips to NOT Fail Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year

  1. Alex

    In exactly one year, I want to grow Just Keep The Change into THE best community on the web for men who have a hard time getting over their ex girlfriends. Some might say that it already is, but I want to make it even better.
    That’s my resolution. What’s yours?

    Reply
  2. Pingback: 11 Tips to NOT Fail Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year « PUA Central

  3. Sammy

    In exactly one year, I want to be the most pacient, loving and fittest person I know. I want to deliver value and good feelings to everyone I meet.

    Reply
  4. Jim

    I Love this post, This is very informative and very educational. I dont really set myself resolutions but I am going to start doing so.

    Reply