6 smart tips to stick to your new year resolutions

Previously, we had discussed some tips to set new year resolutions:

Although setting a new year resolution is a challenge by itself, which requires foresight and strategy, sticking to it is the biggest challenge which requires will-power, passion & dedication as well. However, with the help of some tips, you can sail through it with ease and even enjoy the ride. Following are some smart tips to help you stick to your new year resolutions.

Announce it:

After setting your new year resolutions, announce it to the world. Share it over social media (facebook, twitter), email it to friends & colleagues, mention or discuss it with your family members and well wishers. It will make you accountable and will instill some sense of commitment towards achieving the goals.


Start small, improve gradually:

Due to the determination & initial enthusiasm, it is normal human tendency to overdo things in the beginning, which might cause fatigue later, resulting in giving up the resolutions altogether. Overnight transformations, although desirable, might not be favorable in the long run. Initial enthusiasm might push you to overdo things, but resist the temptation because it is a trap for burnout. In the beginning, start with smaller changes. If you have decided to get in shape by running (and planned for a mini-marathon), start small by brisk walk for just 15 mins a day for the first few days and gradually add speed and duration.



Practice (follow) it for the first 21 days to turn it into a habit:

Few days ago, we had discussed about the science of habit formation:

Psychology of sustainable habits:
As discussed in the above articles, several scientific studies have shown that any activity done consistently for the first 21 days will turn it into a habit.

Choose an inspiration:

As the initial enthusiasm wanes after few days and the efforts starts becoming mundane, some inspiration will be necessary to remain charged. Choose something which symbolizes your goal and place it at strategic locations which will trigger you to push yourself to remain on track.

If you have set your goal as “Getting in shape to wear my 2013 T-Shirt”, then hang it on the wall opposite your bed so that when you wake up in the morning and are tempted to snooze, looking at it will remind you about your goal and might push you out of your inertia.
If you are learning guitar, set a picture of guitar as your wallpaper (on computer & phone), guitar tunes as your ringtone and so on. This works psychologically and stimulates your subconscious mind.


Get (find) a buddy:

Whether we like it or not, whether we accept it or deny it, we humans (except saints) definitely have traits like care, compassion, affection as well was competition, jealousy, obsession and more. All these traits come into play when you find a buddy who is working on the same goal. By constantly sharing each other’s progress, you create a platform where each of you help/motivate the other, care for each other’s progress and compete with each other, resulting in progress in your goals.


 Cheat regularly:

Schedule days (maybe every Sunday) when you can cheat on your new year resolutions. It might sound ridiculous but is actually very effective. Suppose your resolution is to cut down on junk food, follow it strictly from Monday to Saturday and fall for your temptation by eating junk food on Sunday. Suppose you have decided to remain active (jogging, taking stairs instead of elevator etc), do it from Monday to Saturday and get lazy on Sunday by indulging yourself on the couch, and so on. This actually works at both physical & psychological levels because giving it regular breaks can avoid fatigue (physical aspect) and since there is a day allocated for “cheat”, any urge to fall for the temptation can be postponed (psychological aspect) till the “cheat day”. Suppose you feel the urge to eat a burger on a Thursday, your mind would convince you to put it off by just 2 more days because you can enjoy it on Sunday. If not for the cheat day, the mind would feel burdened and tortured. You are basically creating systematic mind-control which is a pretty good compromise and a win-win situation to begin with. However, over time, as the mind & body gets used to this new habit, the frequency of cheat days can be reduced from “Every Sunday” to “Every last day of the month” and eventually, it can even be pushed to “No cheat days” in the long run.


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