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Top ten tips for making New Year's resolutions

On New Year’s Eve most people like to reflect on the past year. Reviewing the successes, challenges and failings. At this point, many people resolve to make improvements. For many it means making a promise to change bad habits, such as reducing how much alcohol they consume or to reduce how often they eat junk food.

But what are the best ways to stick to your resolutions? It's well documented that by breaking our resolutions into smaller, more manageable – and realistic – goals that are specific, measurable and time-based means a positive outcome is more likely.

Here are our top 10 goal-setting tips:

  1. Be realistic. Make only one resolution – your chance of success is higher if you focus on changing just one habit, rather than multiple habits

  1. Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to make changes. This is typically what everybody does, but the post-festive season, when you're filled with guilt means you may not set realistic resolutions. Take time to reflect on what you really need to change, regardless of when that is

  1. Avoid revisiting or resetting a past resolution. If you’ve failed before, it's hard to combat another resolution where you have had little or no success

  1. Don’t adopt resolutions others are setting themselves. Make it specific to you and what you really want out of life

  1. Break your resolution into a series of smaller steps. Create sub-goals and activity to meet those smaller goals

  1. Outline your plan. Be clear about every step you need to take, starting with the smallest changes first. Also, decide how you’ll manage temptation – call on those around you for support or distraction, practice positive thinking and invest in your own personal development. But make sure you set out how you'll deal with setbacks

  1. To stay motivated tell others about your plans, so they can help you and keep you accountable. Also keep a checklist of your progress. Measurable and actionable steps that enable you to really see the changes you're achieving

  1. Reward yourself when you achieve a sub-goal. This could be setting aside money saved from avoiding fast food for some new (smaller) clothing or get your hair done

  1. Expect to fail sometimes and don’t beat yourself up. It's hard to break habits, as we're creatures of habit. So when you have a little blip, recognise it as such and move on

  1. If you start running out of energy to stick to your resolution by mid-February, don’t give up. Recommit yourself for 24 hours. You can do anything for a day. Take it one hour at a time, and before you know it, you’ll feel motivated to get back on track. Recognise when your enthusiasm is waning and ask for help

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