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New Year’s Resolutions for people who struggle with willpower

Every year we sit down full of good intentions and make resolutions that are forgotten by the second of January.

Try this no-resolution resolution technique to focus on what is important to you – and maintain your New Year’s Resolutions all year long.

Focus on the why

It’s all too easy to let “learn French” or “get fit” drift by the wayside when you haven’t decided why – or even if – those things are important to you. Often we pick resolutions that seem generally virtuous or a good idea – but if they don’t resonate with you and your priorities in life, you will never see them through.

The new year is a perfect time for reflection, so it’s a good idea to take a few moments to ponder how you would like your life to look this time next year.

Close your eyes and picture New Year’s Day 2020: what memories would you like to be looking back on?

A promotion? An amazing holiday? A year of exciting activity – or of contentedness?

What’s important to you?

Work out the areas of your life that are most important to you. It might be: family, career and personal growth, or fitness, friends and finances. You can have as few or as many categories as feels right for you (though you might find you start with a large list then realise that some can be grouped into one), and they should resonate for you. Some people might put relationship with partner in its own category with parents and friends in another, while for others “people I love” might be a single category.

Next, write a statement for each category that you want to be true by this time next year. Write it in the past tense, so it feels like a definite thing that has happened. Under ‘family’ you might write: “we are closer now”, under career: “I got that promotion.”

Then add how it would make you feel – fulfilled, satisfied, secure, loved.

How will you achieve your goals?

Finally, write three actions that you would have to complete to make the statement true.

To bring your family closer together, perhaps you need to have scheduled alone time with each child every day, committed to family activities every weekend, or taken on a project together. To get the promotion, maybe you must complete three new projects, take a training course to develop your skills and schedule a review with your boss.

Those actions are your resolutions. They must be specific and actionable. No more “get fit”. It’s now “sign up for a gym, meet with a personal trainer, commit to two pilates classes a week.”

Revisit your resolutions

It is a good idea to revisit and update the actions every few months.

Maybe by April you will be ready to commit to three or four pilates classes per week or will have decided to take on weightlifting instead.

Maybe your boss turned down your first request for promotion, so you need to reconsider what else you need to do to succeed next time.

Maybe a family activity every single weekend isn’t sustainable, but once a month plus a shared dinner each week is more workable and still brings you closer. The actions themselves can be fluid, because it is all about making the statements true by 2020!