Tips to Help You With Your 2017 Goals

Hi guys! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, sorry for the delay in my posts over the last week, I gave myself a long Christmas break. Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions are goals you want to set for the New Year ahead. Making the New Year’s resolutions is the easy part, the hard part is sticking to them! Therefore I have provided you with some helpful tips for you to stay on track with your New Year goals.

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1: Focus on one thing at a time

If you want to change something in your life or your lifestyle, don’t try and change everything all at once. Instead pick one area of your life to focus on to begin with. As time goes on, you can start to focus on other areas of your life too, after a month or two. Your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your life/behaviour

2: Pick your own resolutions/goals

Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life. If a bunch of friends are wanting to exercise more, it doesn’t mean you have to, think about what you truly want and think about what you need to do to achieve that.

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3: Plan ahead

Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your goals, instead take some time out a few days before and reflect upon what you really want to achieve. If you want to be successful with your goals you must have an understanding of what you will be changing or doing.

By planning ahead you will have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the necessary things in place to ensure your goal will be successful:

  • Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject or research them online. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or setting a goal on your career, there are books to help you prepare for it. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change. These books will also help motivate you.
  • Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. For example, if you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, iPod loaded with energetic music at the ready-have a workout playlist made and ready.

 

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4: Break up your main goal

Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable and time-based. For example if you want to lose 10 pounds, break that main goal up each week.

For example, instead of just telling yourself you are losing 10 pounds, tell yourself, this week I will go to the gym 3 times, take the stairs at work and bring a healthy lunch every day. Breaking it up into smaller goals will give you a sense of accomplishment when you complete these goals each week and will keep you motivated to continue!

5: Anticipate and prepare for challenges

Being realistic and knowing that you will be facing challenges is wise. You will face challenges along the way, so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified these possible challenges, work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.

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6: Pick a start date

People have this idea that we must start our goals on New Year’s Day. But that’s not necessarily true. Pick a day when you believe you will be ready, rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people to start your goal/resolution. Maybe when the kids go back to school, or on your first day back to work, whenever you feel is right, but remember to stick to it!

7: Tell your friends and families about your goals

By telling your friends and family about your goals, you’re more likely to get support and want to avoid failure. This has always worked for me, once I tell someone something, I work extremely hard just to avoid having to tell them I’ve failed at that. Therefore it is a good form of motivation.

Or, if you hear negativity towards your goals, again this was something that always motivated me to want to succeed even more. Therefore if you hear doubt or negativity, see it as motivation.

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8: Don’t beat yourselves up over set backs

If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk, shout at the kids one morning or get unmotivated with your career goals, don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.

For example, if you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes then cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout and get angry, then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.

If you feel unmotivated, then buy some motivation books or remind yourself of the reasons for why you are doing this. Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed. Set backs are lessons, learn from them and move on!

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9: Stop “All or Nothing” thinking

Do you ever think, “Well, I might as well get dessert since I already ate those French fries?” And then, “I blew my diet last night so I’ll just restart it next week.” The difference between doing something rather than nothing is massive. If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20-minutes you can.

If you have a slight cold or minor injury, decide to just walk the track for a couple miles. If you have a financial emergency and can’t save your full desired amount this month, just save what you can. The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.

10: Give yourself rewards

Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, this will help to maintain motivation and a sense of progress. Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. Treat yourself to a night away, a trip to the cinema or a new outfit from the money you’ve saved from giving up the cigarettes etc.

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I hope you found some of these tips helpful! Now it’s time to start planning Your New Year goals. This is a new year with new possibilities, leave the past in 2016 and focus on a fresh start this 2017! Enjoy and good luck

Niamh-Psychotherapist xx

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