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How to keep your New Year’s Resolutions
By Life Coach, Catherine Billam

Last year an estimated seven million Britons made a New Year’s resolution. But 25 per cent had given up within a week and 39 per cent of resolutions had been abandoned by the end of January.

The New Year is an ideal time for a new start, but keeping change going is never easy. Leading Life Coach Catherine Billam offers five tips to make those resolutions stick.

1. Find your resonant goal

Behind every successful resolution is a resonant goal. If your resolution is a "I will do something (eat, drink, shop) less or (exercise, meditate) more", what is the outcome you want to get to?

To find your resonant goal, ask yourself "why?" You may need to do it a few times. For instance"

"I want to eat less chocolate"
"Because I want to lose ten pounds?"
"Because I want to fit into size 12 clothes"
"Because I am single and I want to find a partner"
"Because I know that I will be much happier if I have someone to share my life"

Now imagine that you have achieved that goal. How will you feel? How will you be different? What will other people see differently in you? Does the goal resonate for you? Are you smiling? Do you really want it? Remember that feeling – it will help to motivate you to keep going with your resolution.

2. Be creative in setting your resolutions

Once you have chosen a resonant goal, what other resolutions can you think of to achieve that goal? I once made a New Year’s resolution to flirt more and wear less baggy clothes!

Can you make them fun or enjoyable? If you want to exercise more (and your resonant goal is something like "I want to feel fit and healthy and full of energy"), think of what kinds of exercise you enjoy. Are you a solitary runner or a team player? Do you like to compete or do you prefer the camaraderie of a group? If your resolution is intrinsically enjoyable then you are more likely to keep it up.

Are there small changes that you can make which will make a difference in the long term? For instance, " I will walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift"? Or "I will set my alarm ten minutes earlier and eat my breakfast calmly rather than rushing"? Easy changes are easier to keep up than hugely ambitious ones.

Set yourself up for success rather than failure. Instead of saying I will always or never do something, commit to doing it, say, three times a week, or twice a month. Give yourself a do-able resolution.

3. Share the load

Can you find someone to share your commitment with? You are more likely to go to yoga class each week if you have committed to go with a friend. A buddy who is working on a similar goal is great – you can celebrate and commiserate together, and encourage each other to keep going.

Get your friends and family to help you. Tell them what you are doing and how they can best support you.

Resolutions are easier to keep if someone is holding you accountable. Think of slimming clubs – part of their success is that everyone gets weighed at each meeting – the leader is holding the members accountable.

If you don’t have a buddy, ask someone else to hold you accountable. For instance you could send them an email each week telling them of your progress.

Hold yourself accountable – get some graph paper and plot your progress or success. Put it on the wall where you see it every day.

How creative can you be with accountability?

4. Celebrate success

Celebrate your successes. Set yourself some milestones – make sure that the first ones are easy to achieve - and plan what rewards you will give yourself when you achieve them.

If you have a buddy, make sure that you celebrate each other’s achievements.

Tell your friends and family about your progress. They will all be rooting for you – give them something to cheer about.

For some people, negative rewards work. One person wrote a cheque for £100, and gave it to a friend, saying that they could cash it if he had not achieved his goal by a certain date.

What works for you?

5. Cultivate the ability to recover

Most people will slip up on their resolutions at some point. What is important is how you recover.

Many people interpret a single failure as an inability to keep the resolution at all and give up. If your resolution was to stop smoking, and you have a couple of cigarettes at a party, do you tell yourself that you have failed and go back to smoking?

Think of a long distance race. If you fall what do you do? Do you give up and lie in the mud? Or do you just get back up and keep going? A single slip is not a reason to stop the race.

Was your resolution to clear your desk every day and you notice that it has got covered in clutter again? Don’t give up. Have a clear up and start again. If your "go to the gym three times a week" has dwindled to nothing, book time into you diary to get back there.

These tips work – they come from my experience of coaching clients. Life coaching can help you to uncover your resonant goals, find creative ways of achieving them, hold you accountable, encourage and support you.

To discover the power of life coaching for yourself, try a free introductory coaching session – all you pay for is the phone call.

To find out more, contact Catherine Billam on 02392 413 143, email catherine@bestuklifecoach.com.

Copyright © 2007-2008 Catherine Billam Coaching.
Please feel free to copy this article in its entirety, crediting www.bestuklifecoach.com as the source.

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