How to keep your New Year’s resolutions


Headlines in the local Herald newspaper pointing to a surge in gym attendance for the month of January piqued my curiosity about the practice of making resolutions at the beginning of a new year. Gyms actually expect an influx of new members in January but keeping these members for the rest of the year is tricky. The reason for this is that many people make a resolution but do not adequately prepare for the cost and implication of fulfilling it.

A resolution is a determination to achieve a specific goal but we all know that it is one thing to write a goal down but another to achieve it. A goal is an object or end that one strives to attain. It is also an image or picture of the future. How this picture is realised is something all of us should seek to understand and let me offer a few tips. Firstly to achieve your goal you need to submit it to God. Proverbs 3:5 says you are trust God and lean not on your own understanding.

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Be prepared to trade-off
Secondly you have to be prepared for a trade-off. A trade-off as a giving up of one benefit, advantage, etc. in order to gain another regarded as more desirable. Coming out of your comfort zone and giving up something you enjoy will be an important trade-off in order to get goal achieved. John Maxwell says “to achieve excellence, I think you have to learn to travel light. You must learn to off-load before trying to reload. You have to let go of one thing in order to grasp a new one” (2010:141).

The third factor in ensuring that your goal is achieved is your mental attitude. An attitude is something that is invisible and yet it is often the difference between success and failure. Maxwell defines an attitude as an inward feeling that is expressed by behaviour. For instance how a person behaves around food reveals his inward feelings towards it. A change in attitude is therefore an important start towards a change in behaviour.

Fourthly the company you keep in 2016 will be a determinant of whether your goals for this year are achieved or not. Proverbs 13:20 says “walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” You have heard the saying that birds of a feather flock together and so if you want to be a loser (weight loser) in this case, you must hang around other losers. You need to hang around fellow strugglers who will celebrate with you every step you make towards your goal.

The goal of losing weight and getting fit is brilliant but also happens to be one of the top 10 most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions worldwide. The other 9 are; quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier and diet, get out of debt and save money, spend more time with family, travel to new places, be less stressed, volunteer, and drink less. How many of these are on your list and realistically speaking how many do you think you will achieve?

Only 8% make it!
A University of Scranton research study suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year goals. So making them is the easy part but seeing them though is another story. The fifth tip that I can offer is to encourage you to get an accountability buddy. This is a trusted person you should account to regarding your progress in achieving your goal. When you feel like giving up he will be your support system.   

Joining a gym in January only to drop off the band wagon by March means you did not make room in your life for this lifestyle change. A friend of mine confessed that it is only his money that went to the gym for him in 2015. I can imagine that there are many others like him. Here is wishing you will stay the course and also achieve all your goals for 2016.      

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