Most of us have, at some point or other succumbed to the urge to better ourselves, resolving at the stroke of midnight to be all we can be. Afloat on a tide of Carpe Diem enlightenment and festive booze this new improved slimmer, fitter, sober, fag-free, well travelled, better employed and highly sexed version of ourselves seems almost tangible but all too often by the time the hangover has worn off our perfected alter ego is a washed up drain on self-esteem and reminder of our lack of willpower, dynamism and success.
No wonder January is renowned as the most depressing month of the year.
So, how to make New Year’s resolutions without falling into a bear pit of dismal failure?
Firstly, make your resolution something achievable. Most people break their resolutions because they overshoot and give up when they fail to achieve an unrealistic goal. The most common resolution after all the indulgence of the festive season is to lose weight. Fine. A worthy objective; but set your target wisely and conservatively. If you hit your target chances are you’ll feel good about yourself and keep going. If you don’t it’s much more likely that inertia and old habits will regroup and mug you at their earliest opportunity.
Secondly, give your resolution more thought than an impulse buy at the sales. Forget ill considered, hasty commitments and think about what you really want from the year ahead. A New Year’s resolution should feel like a positive decision that you’ve made not a self-imposed Sisyphean labour. Having the right mental attitude is key to success. Is there a friend you lost touch with that you want to catch up with? A city you’ve always wanted to visit? A cookery, photography, or golf course you’ve always wanted to do? New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be an exercise in punishing self-improvement, they can be a catalyst for all sorts of things you might actually enjoy that have the added bonus of making life a richer, more full experience.
Thirdly, don’t go it alone. People are much more likely to stick their resolutions with the support of family and friends. If your goal is to join a gym, or take up running you’re chances of going the distance are far greater if you share your goal with friends. Letting yourself down is one thing, letting down a friend is something else and avoiding it, exactly the sort of motivation required to hoist us off the sofa and into our trainers.
Finally, pat yourself on the back whenever you do well and whatever your resolve for the 2013, good luck.