Saturday, December 22, 2012

How to Break a Habit and Set New Year's Resolutions That Actually Work

Devil Dog gym begins new year with new gear
Devil Dog gym begins new year with new gear (Photo credit: CherryPoint)
by Jay D Allan

It's that time of year again! It's time to focus on self improvement with an effective New Year's resolution.

Unfortunately it's also the time when most people make promises to themselves that don't work because most of us don't know how to break a habit for good.

For those that do, getting into the holiday spirit is a lot less stressful.

Why do most New Year's resolutions fail? One reason is because the resolution wasn't planned properly. Maybe it wasn't attainable. Or maybe you didn't commit the time necessary to achieve your goal.

Follow this simple step by step guide on how to break a habit to help you succeed with your New Year's resolutions. When you are with your loved ones this Dec 31st, you'll be able cheer "Happy New Year!!" with a little extra confidence!

Step 1: Choose Achievable Resolutions

Choose your resolutions wisely! Many resolutions fail because they were not achievable goals. When making changes in life, one should always choose small, attainable goals. Don't resolve to lose 50 pounds right away; resolve to work out for 30 minutes each day or to consistently lose a little bit of weight each month.

As long as you are heading in the right direction with your goals and can stay on target, you will inevitably see results. Don't aim too low either; it's important to challenge yourself a little bit.

Also, make it something you are proud to talk about with other people who love the time honored tradition. It should be something that matters to you as well, as ultimately you are the one to benefit.

It's usually best to choose a resolution that relates to something you have a passion for. What could be better than doing something you actually love when you're trying to break a bad habit?

Here are some ideas for your New Year's resolution:

  • I am going to swear less
  • I am going to quit smoking
  • I resolve to get back in shape
  • I am going to work more hours each day
  • I will delete my non-friends from Facebook
  • I am going to organize my hoard
  • I am going to make new friends
  • I'm going to start a blog and post regularly
  • I will save enough money to take a vacation

Step 2: Plan, Plan, Plan to Succeed

This is the time where you break down your goal. You may want to design the goal in phases if you have multiple related aims. For example, if you are organizing your closet, you may want to do the top shelf on day one, the middle shelf on day two, and so on. If you are taking up swimming, start with a half an hour for the first few weeks, then move up to 45 minutes for weeks 3 and 4, and so on.

The goal must be somehow measurable so you will have to find a way to keep track of your progress somehow. This helps you gauge your success later on in the year. Measurements can include pounds lost, money saved, family opinions, or boons gained. It helps if you prepare a journal to log your progress.

Consider what is needed in order to attain your goal. If you plan to go to the gym, you will need a gym pass and to arrange for transportation. If you want to get higher grades, find additional learned materials or a tutor. If you want to save money, make arrangements to work more hours or start a new job. Many failed resolutions didn't have the tools they needed to succeed in the first place.

Schedule your time wisely. If you are busy you might have to sacrifice a less desirable activity to make time. Use post-it notes to give yourself helpful reminders. You get out what you put in, so be sure to put a great deal of thought into the process of your resolution. That is one surefire way to know how to break a habit or learn a new positive one.

Step 3: Leap Into Action

Now is the time to really shine. Hopefully, your resolution brings you satisfaction while you are working towards it. Take it one day at a time, but get started no matter what - and follow the change laid out in your plan. Thank yourself each step of the way; it will motivate you to continue.

Here are some tips for securing the success of your resolution:

  • only try to break one habit at a time
  • replace bad habits with good ones
  • find support in your community, friends, or family
  • be kind to yourself
  • take it one day at a time
  • remember why you wanted to make the change in the first place
  • keep a progress journal
  • believe in yourself
  • be aware of your accomplishments
  • have fun even though you're going through changes

Don't forget to make the most of your New Year's holiday celebration. Don't make the change until 2013 begins, to be sure you are good and ready for it. It's never too early or too late to learn something new - especially when it comes to learning how to break a habit and reaching your goals easily.

For more strategies on how to break bad habits and make your resolutions a reality, visit:

You are just moments away form learning how to break a habit and keep it that way for good!

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