How often do you make a New Year’s resolution only to give in to your old habits by the middle of January? If that’s you, you’re not alone. Most of us begin the year with the best intentions only to find our old habits creeping up on us within a few weeks.
If you need a bit of inspiration, we’ve scoured the internet to find what we think are the 6 best motivational articles to help you stick to your resolutions throughout 2014.
The NHS advises to make only one resolution. “Choosing just one aspect of your health to improve will increase your chance of success. Plan it in advance – keep it specific and write it down. Don't repeat last year’s resolution. Or, if you do, at least pick a different technique to achieve it. Plan a reward for when you achieve your goal. This will give you something to focus on.” .
Dr Robert Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire reports via the BBC News website that people who successfully stick to resolutions broke their goal into a series of steps and rewarded themselves when they achieved each step. They told their friends and family what they were trying to achieve, so they got support and the fear of failure kept them on track. Also they regularly reminded themselves about the benefits of achieving their goal.
Time magazine says that “simply recognizing the triggers to relapse can help you choose not to give into them. When there's a fork in the road, craving is pulling you one way. Well, what's the other way? You have to look down the other road and see where it takes you. Then you have a choice, instead of being on autopilot.
One tactic to try is called "urge-surfing." It involves being mindful of the fact that craving is like a wave — it rises to a peak, then falls. This happens whether you yield to the urge or not, though most people erroneously think their craving will escalate endlessly unless they give in. In fact, succumbing to cravings only reinforces them — resisting, in contrast, reinforces resistance.
Another trick is to recognize that willpower is like a muscle — it gets stronger with appropriate use but ultimately weakens if overloaded. So set short-term goals that are moderately difficult, realistic, concrete and measurable.
International Business Times recommends making a vision board.
A vision board is easy way to visualize your aspirations for the year and where you hope to see yourself in the future. So grab a couple of old magazines or books and cut out photos, quotes and whatever else might embody your mission for the year. You can get as creative as you like since this is your personal project to keep you encouraged while making your life changes. Place the completed board in a prominent place that you'll see each day.
If it’s improved health you’re after, Women’s Fitness magazine advises approaching a workout with a positive attitude. “Get your mind expecting a great session and your body will follow. I keep a diary and before each session, have a written-plan of what you want to achieve.”
An article in the Huffington Post recommends separating resolutions into four categories - Health and Wellbeing, Personal, Career and Development, and Financial. Write each resolution or goal down under its category and stick it somewhere you'll see every day.