New Year's Resolutions: The Do's and Don'ts

Do you always set a New Year's Resolution at the beginning of January, only to abandon it a few weeks or a month later? Well our list of Do's and Don't will make sticking to your resolution easy – it's all about the planning...

Do pick something realistic

This is a really important one! Pick something you can achieve and set yourself deadlines to break it up. If you want to lose weight set yourself a realistic goal like a pound a week, or if you want to save money, have a realistic figure (based around your salary and living expenses) that you want to save each month.

Don't think short-term

If you really want your New Year's Resolution to have a lasting impact you need to make it stick long-term. Set yourself something you can achieve in 12 months and then set yourself goals and deadlines throughout the year. For instance, if you want to quit smoking you can set yourself a decreasing number of cigarettes to smoke per month or week and make sure you keep to those targets.

Do use your willpower

If you're going to make a New Year's Resolution stick then you have to commit to it and avoid those temptations that everyone gets. If you've made a resolution to cut back on drinking then don't drink on Monday, then count the week as a failure and have a glass of wine every night!

Don't beat yourself up if you slip up

With the above being said, it's okay to slip up once in a while, but don't let one slip-up throw off your New Year's Resolution entirely. So what that you missed the gym once this week? It's normal to want to stay in bed in the morning or cuddle up on the sofa at night, just remember to go the next day.

Do try to set a resolution with a friend or family member

Sometimes it's easier to keep a resolution if you have someone else to help you along the way. If you and your friend, partner or a family member have a similar goal, why not do it together? Just one thing to remember if you do this - try not to compete with each other! One of you will always feel worse for it.

Don't procrastinate

Procrastination can be the death of any New Year's Resolution. It's incredibly easy to get home and just relax after a day in work, but if you don't make the time to complete and keep at your resolution then it's very easy to slip into old habits – next thing you know it's February and you've had at least one take-away a week, even though you promised you'd cut back.

Do reward yourself for sticking at it!

If you've kept at your resolution for a month, and reached some of those great targets you set yourself right at the start, then it's the perfect opportunity to treat yourself. Maybe link your treat to your resolution in a positive way – if you've been on a diet and lost weight, buy a new piece of clothing. However, while it can be great to have a treat that is linked to your resolution, try not to indulge in a way that will take you off track – especially if you're already doing so well.

Don't set more than one or two resolutions

It's great to have resolutions and one or two different ones can have a great impact on your life. However, if you take on too many resolutions you're more likely to add extra stress that won't make you feel any better. Giving up on one or two resolutions can also make you feel less enthusiastic about the others and therefore more likely to give them up too. Find something that's really important to you this year and if you can stick to that for one year, tackle your other ideas the next.

Do pick a resolution that will make you happier

What's the point in a resolution that doesn't make you happy (long-term)? A lot of people sniff at the idea of New Year New Me, but the basic principle is a great idea. Maybe the resolution itself won't create a 'New Me' but using your resolution to make sure your 'New Me' is a happier 'Me' seems like a great idea to us!