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How to make your New Year resolutions stick

Last updated on: January 5, 2010 13:01 IST

How to make your New Year resolutions stick

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Disha Pinge

Eat less. Sleep more. Keep fit. Keep accounts. Lose weight. Gain weight. Learn the guitar. Break up. Quit smoking. Start jogging. Drink less. Study more. Work harder. Score better. Read more books. Watch more plays. Stop wasting money. Start exercising. Shop less. Party less. Save more. Spend more time at home. Travel more. Be on time. PHEW!

New Year's Eve is one of the top-rated most stressful days of the year for most people. The beginning of a new year comes with the pressure of changing our way of life and doing something we haven't been able to do for a long time. But making resolutions is one thing, and sticking to them is quite another!

So, here are a few tips to make your resolutions last from this New Year's Eve to the next.

Write it down
To begin with, write down your resolution. Committing to it on paper makes your resolution more real and it becomes a more binding contract for you. When you write down, be sure to set the rules. For example, when this resolution involves a change in diet, make sure you write down all that you can and can't eat. Make a proper timetable and don't bend the rules. This will keep you from cutting corners and finding loopholes in your resolution.

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Follow it through for one month

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Since most resolutions are about making or breaking a habit, it's a good idea to follow it through for one month. So, if you plan to go for a morning walk, do it for 30 days straight. If you miss a day in between (be it the 5th or the 25th) start over. It's not a resolution till you follow it through.

Also, following the habit for 30 days will make your system more accustomed to the habit, making it more difficult to drop easily. Chances are, these slip-ups may happen twice, thrice or several times before you finish the 30-day quota. But don't give up. Keep trying till you get there. Once you're into the habit, the battle is half won.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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Deal with one resolution at a time

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A lot of people make the mistake of making two or three resolutions at a time. While this is good for people with immense willpower, it's a better idea to deal with one resolution at a time for us lesser mortals. Making too many lifestyle changes at a time can be extremely stressful and difficult to maintain.

Hence, focus your energies and accomplish one resolution before you start another.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier



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Create a support system

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Although this entirely depends on individual preference, creating a support system for the resolution can go a long way. Tell your family and friends about it. Get their support and encouragement and you'll be surprised at what you achieve. In fact, getting someone else to make the same resolution can be helpful. It provides for accountability and constant encouragement.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh



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Reward yourself

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And finally, reward yourself. There's nothing better than rewarding yourself at regular intervals but make sure you're beyond the 30-day period before you do this. Rewarding helps keep up the motivation and adds flexibility to your life. For example, if you decided to spend less money on shopping, give yourself one day (just one!) to go on a small shopping spree with a limited budget. Do not take your credit card along! But be careful; never have two reward days consecutively or even close together or you risk breaking your resolution altogether.

There are many more things you could do. Come up with your own trick to stick to your New Year's resolution. Email reminders, keeping a daily diary or having a resolution buddy. Do whatever it takes and welcome a new and better lifestyle in 2010!

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