How to keep your New Year resolutions going

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The average person keeps to a New Year resolution for around three and a half weeks*, and it’s often all too easy to find a reason for ditching something that feels like hard work. But all is not lost – we speak to the experts about their tips and tricks for staying on track.

No more excuses:

Talking yourself out of your good intentions with the same old excuses? Coaching Psychologist Jessica Chivers offers some positive answers to silence your inner cynic…

  • I haven't got time!

When we say we haven't got time what we're really saying is that it's not a priority. You need to work out what's important and what you can let slide.

  • I can't do it!

Confidence needs to be stretched and tested in situations that make us feel uncomfortable, so that it grows. It's after doing something difficult that you look back with pride and think 'I did that!' And if you're thinking 'I can't do it!' because you've set yourself a big goal, it's easier to break this into smaller actions that are more manageable. So, for example, if your goal is to become a writer, you could set yourself the task of writing a blog three times a week.

  • It won't make any difference…

Instead, try adopting an attitude of 'I won't know unless I try'. Focus on what there is to gain from making the change and weighing that against what the downside might be (writing these thoughts down may be helpful).

A little kindness never goes amiss

You're more likely to keep your resolutions going if you're not too hard on yourself. Psychologist and life coach Cliff Arnall recommends patience, if you fail to stick to your resolution see it as a blip rather than a relapse. Remember that it can take two or three years to give up a habit such as smoking. What’s more, 'giving up' something can cause feelings of loss. It's really important to replace it with something that's good for you.

Add an incentive

Introducing a reward for sticking to a resolution can help get you back on track. For example, if you've decided to give something up such as smoking, your daily latte habit or the Friday night takeaway, save the money instead of frittering it.

Or, if it works better for you the other way round, try a self-imposed fine every time you arrive somewhere late or fail to go to the gym – whatever it is that you're trying to do/not to do.

This way, you could also develop a regular savings habit and transform your finances. For example, imagine if you cut back on your daily latte habit and could then save £25 a month – that's £300 a year, or £3,000 over 10 years!

Want to make 2016 the year you get savings savvy? Take a look at our 12 easy money saving tips for the coming year

* survey coverage in the Independent


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