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How To Keep Your New Years Resolutions

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New year, new you?

With 2016 fast approaching is it time for change? Is it time for a fresh start and a new challenge?

New year’s resolutions are common but a high majority of men don’t stick to them. Why?

Here’s a few ways to set your new year’s resolutions and achieve them in 2016.

Reflect On Last Year

Before you set your goals for 2016 it’s important to reflect on the year just passed. What were you grateful for and what areas could you improve?

By reflecting on the main areas you could improve it will help you set your new goals moving forward.

As a man self reflection is one of the hardest things to do. Be aware of your emotions, how you feel and let your thoughts surface.

Spend 10-20 minutes in silence and reflect on 2015. Thoughts, ideas and new targets will typically arise in your thoughts and write them down as they do.

reflection

Make Change Everyday

Fed up with the ‘new year, new me’ updates that surface around social media at this time of year? Fed up with the ‘2016 is my year!’ statements?

Me too. It’s important to make change everyday.

New years day is a Friday this year. Nothing magical happens on the 1st of January that means we have more motivation and creativity. It’s the same as any Friday.

What will you do to make change on the Monday before? The Wednesday? Today?

Delaying change affects the goals you want to achieve. There’s no better time to start now, put things in place because you don’t have to wait for a new year.

So how can you keep your new year’s resolutions this year?

1. Set Big Goals & Make Small Steps

Big goals require more effort. They require more time, motivation and typically push you out of your comfort zones.

If you said ‘I want to lose 10 pounds this year’ it’s easily achievable. You’re not going to be motivated, you’re probably going to leave it until November to start losing the weight and it doesn’t require much effort on your part.

Where as setting the goal ‘I want to lose 4 stone’ or ‘I want to run a marathon’ are bigger goals that will require more of your focus.

Be specific with your goal. When will you achieve it and include any other details that help you picture it.

steps to goal

The Specific Goal: “I will run a Marathon on the 20th April. I will run it in under 5 hours and not stop”

Being specific with your goal again makes it more real. There’s a big difference between a goal and a dream as you’ll soon find out.

Once you set your goal it’s important to create smaller goals (mini steps) to achieving it.

So again if your goal was to ‘run a marathon this year’ you’d set a series of smaller goals to help you achieve it.

Mini Goal 1: “I’ll buy some running shoes and join a running club by January 5th”

Mini Goal 2: “I’ll complete a 10k race on February 10th”.

Mini Goal 3: “I’ll run 20 miles on March 30th”

The list would go on…

Setting these smaller goals which are in alignment with your new years resolution turn a ‘dream’ into a sustainable goal.

Anyone can say ‘I want a Porsche’ or ‘I want to make £1 million this year’ – But how?

Set a big goal that requires more effort and set mini goals in alignment with the achievement of that big goal.

2. Create Daily Habits

Daily habits help create the situation you’re in right now, so it’s important to align them to the new year’s resolution you want to achieve.

A habit is easy to sustain for a few days, but we’re looking for a long term solution.

Watch how many people will sign up to a gym and go running on New Years Day. They’ll keep it up for a week, maybe two and then fall back into the habit of not exercising.

To achieve your new years resolution it’s important to build daily habits around achieving it.

Going back to the Marathon example, daily habits could include stretching everyday, running every day, drinking more water and eating a more balanced diet.

It’s important to turn these in to habits you do daily and habits you sustain.

habits

Again, start small. Where possible I like to apply just 10 minutes a day to the new habit I’m looking to sustain. Everyone can apply 10 minutes a day to something…

It’s important not to skip a day, as consistency really is key. After spending just 10 minutes a day on the habit, I’ll then start to increase it to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes when possible.

After 30 – 60 days of spending time on this habit daily it will start to become more natural and won’t require as much effort/motivation to do it.

Think about cleaning your teeth… hopefully you do it twice a day?

What happens when you go to work forgetting to clean your teeth in the morning? Typically you won’t forget because it’s a habit but if you do your brain will remind you of it.

It’s the same with any habit, but to get there just start small and be consistent.

3. Accountability is Key

Probably the most important step to achieving your new years resolutions is accountability.

How will you, or someone else hold you accountable to achieve the goals you’ve set?

Ever seen an actor get shredded for a movie role within the space of 3 months? Sure they have time and a full time personal trainer to help them achieve it but the main reason they do is accountability. If they fail to get in the shape required, they’ll lose the movie role, the pay cheque and feel embarrased in the process.

Holding yourself accountable requires a lot of motivation, so I’d recommend public accountability.

I like to use the formula ‘If I Don’t…’ + Accountability.

For example…

‘If I don’t complete a Marathon on April 20th I will give £1000 to my friend Mark’

The goal is specific and having to give away £1000 to my friend Mark (who I really don’t want too) will make me accountable to achieving the goal.

The accountability needs to be something you really don’t want to do. Giving £50 to your wife isn’t enough to hold you accountable. It could be a bet with a friend, it could be something you love which you’ll have to give away if you don’t achieve it…

The options are limitless, but holding yourself accountable like this will really help keep you motivated to achieve your goals.

achievement

You also want to make it public. Share the goal and the date you’ll achieve it with people on social media, share it with your friends, your family, put it out there and get everyone to hold you accountable.

A quick post on Facebook stating what it is you want to do and what you’ll do if you fail will reinforce the accountability to achieve it.

Take Action (Today)

So there we have it, a few steps to help you keep your new year’s resolutions in 2016.

Take action on them, start today if you don’t want to wait for the new year and make change.

If this helps, feel free to send me an email on paul@pmcgregor.com, connect with me on social media and let me know.

Signing out…

Paul McGregor
Founder of MFM, Lecturer at the London College of Fashion and Online Consultant.
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