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Making New Years Resolutions

Excited to start fresh this new year? Have you got a long list in the notes app of your phone of things you promised you would do, but just haven’t got around to yet?


Most people drop their resolutions by the third week of January - so how do we go about actually making changes that stick?


I believe we should start with the name we use: the word resolution has too many negative associations now, riddled with years of failed attempts. Try shifting to New Years goals or New Years changes.


Next, make sure goals are SMART

Specific - rather than saying you will work harder in school, pledge to spend half an hour a week consolidating a topic that you have struggled with.

Measurable - make sure the goals you set can be tracked throughout the year. Goals such as reading one book every fortnight are easier to stick to than ‘read more’.

Achievable - goals should not be extremely difficult (or extremely easy). Whilst pushing yourself, completely unrealistic goals may also demotivate you in the long term.

Relevant - your goals should align with your values and long term objectives so that you are more likely to stick with them in the years to come.

Timed - the challenge should not just continuously get more difficult forever as this can demotivate future goals. Goals should therefore at some point be completed, either through forming a routine or progressing in an activity.


Anticipate and overcome problems. It is likely that at some point throughout the year, you will not meet your goal in some way or another. Rather than ditching the goal and adopting the ‘I’ll do it next year’ attitude, realise that failure does not mean the end of the journey. Restart when you feel ready and carry on as before.


And lastly, don’t beat yourself up about it. Goals, resolutions - whatever you want to call them - can be set throughout the year, not only in January. Start small and be proud of the progress you have already made over the past year!

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