New Year’s resolutions

So we’re almost a week into the new year. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Personally, I haven’t even started, because those first two weeks I use to prepare and get ready.

First off, what are your resolutions? Breaking a habit like smoking or biting your nails? Writing more? Drawing every single day from now on? Exercise and diet until you get to that weight that you’ve got in your head?

Here are my tips to actually succeed this time round:

Define your goals

What does ‘write more’ mean? Is that a number of words a day, or a few times a week? Do emails count? Start excerise sounds great, but what will you be doing, and how often a week? The more loosely defined your goals, the easier it is to go down the slippery slope of not reaching them.

Make sure they’re realistic goals

If you’ve never exercised in your life, doing 3 or 4 full work-outs a week might be difficult to keep up. If you’ve never drawn as much as a stick figure, drawing every single day for the rest of your life from now on might not be as easy as it sounds.

Be realistic about your start-off point and how much time you are willing to set aside.

Find people who are doing the same thing

Join group classes, or even Facebook groups for like-minded people.

There’s <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/groups/edmatters/”&gt; Everyday matters </a> which is all about drawing the everyday things around you, preferably every day.

There’s <a href=”http://www.myfitnesspal.com/”&gt; My Fitness Pal </a>, where you can both keep a food and exercise journal as well as get in touch with others doing the same.

There’s <a href=”http://750words.com/”>  750 words </a> for those who want to start writing more frequently, you can keep track of your own progress as well as what others are doing.

Reward yourself

There’s nothing wrong with a gold star for great work. In fact, I ‘reward’ myself for every work out done by adding a dot sticker to my calender, a heart one for a new personal record. It’s nice to see the streak, which in turn is a great motivator to keep going.

If you are quitting smoking and save a bit of money, set some aside to treat yourself for every week or month or however long you’ve gone without. Little treats here and there are a lovely way to tell yourself you’re doing really well.

Don’t beat yourself up

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon, or if you skip a day or two of whatever it is you’re doing. It’s OK. You can start again tomorrow. Forming new habits take a long time, at least a month and sometimes longer. Skipping one day does not mean you haven’t done all those days that came before that. It doesn’t ruin anything or erase your efforts.

Look at where and why it went ‘wrong’ and see if there’s anything you need to change in order to prevent that from happening again.

Best of luck in all you’re trying to do this year. I hope 2015 brings you everything you hope  for.

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