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5 Tips for Making (and Keeping) Your New Years Resolution

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by Anne (subscribe)
Perth-based film, literature and script writing student.
Published December 3rd 2012
Make your resolution last further than January
Every year at the end of December, countless hopefuls will announce their intent to become better, happier versions of themselves. Some people will start up a diet, while others will be throwing out their alcohol, while others still might be opening a new savings account. Well, before you settle with the standard new year's promise, have a read of these tips.

1. Make It Measurable

Can you measure your resolution?

In my workplace we talk often about having measurable goals. There's no point in setting a goal that's vague, because how will you know if you're achieving it? The same goes for new year's resolutions.

For example: "I want to spend more time with my family".

That sort of resolution is the kind many people make with the best intentions. But it's too vague - how much time is "more time"? How will you know if you're doing that?

A better promise would be "I'm going to have a family dinner and board game night every Wednesday".

That way you will be able to tell if you are sticking to this goal or not. My family made this commitment a few years back, and because we all knew exactly what was expected, we are still fighting over monopoly to this day.

2. Don't Aim Too High - Know Your Limits

A good sign your resolutions aren't working is if they are the same every year. Whether it's to become a size 8, or stop smoking - no matter what it is, the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. (That's probably not the right quote, but it's still a pretty stupid thing to do).

So give yourself a break. The new year might not be the best time to quit smoking - the best time for that might be right now. If you want to lose weight, focus on the food you eat and the exercise you do, instead of the number on the scales. Setting unrealistic goals will only make you disappointed with yourself.

Don't sweat over the scales - just put these on a few times a week.

3. Be Kind to Others

In my opinion, the whole point of having a new year's resolution is to make you a better person.

Set a goal of giving a (truthful) compliment to someone each day. Or put aside a few hours in your calendar for some volunteer work. Write a loved one a letter about why they are so special to you.

Do whatever you think you can, for someone other than yourself.

4. Pick Something Interesting

If someone asks you what your new years resolution is, and your reply is the standard "lose weight/quit smoking/stop biting my nails", they'll probably forget what you said as soon as you walk away. That, or they won't believe you can stick to it, so they'll be too polite to ask how it's going a few months down the track.

If instead you reply "I want to learn French so I can travel to Montreal," they won't forget it in a hurry - and they'll probably keep asking you how it's going, which will keep you motivated.

Throw in the word 'Montreal' and they won't be able to resist.

The more interesting and unexpected your resolution is, the more people will ask you about it, thus keeping you on your toes and on track.

By the way - my friends still ask me how family night's going. To which I reply "It's still going".

5. Give Yourself a Challenge

Now go back and read tip 2. Not an impossible challenge, but yes, set yourself something that will challenge you and develop you into a stronger person.

Do something that makes you uncomfortable - then you know you're growing. Muster up the courage to apply for that job you've been dreaming about, or challenge yourself to make that holiday fantasy a reality. Audition for a play. Go skydiving. Do something that scares you, just a little bit. And have the best year ever.

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Why? Make a new year's resolution that will last
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