Sticking to your New Year’s resolution: Tips and tricks to stay motivated

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January is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. It provides a time to finally set goals and conquer the battles that have been weighing you down.

According to Scranton University, 39 per cent of those in their twenties achieve their New Year’s resolutions each year. For the other 61 per cent, it can be a very discouraging time and they often throw in the towel very early on.

Whether it be losing weight, quitting smoking, spending more time with family, getting your finances in order or becoming more organized, there are a few steps to take in order to ensure that 2013 is a successful year.

Step one is to ensure you are setting manageable and reasonable goals. You aren’t going to lose 20 pounds in a week and you’re probably only setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect to.

Set smaller goals; divide the year into 52 weeks and take it one day at a time. A New Year’s resolution is supposed to be a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix.

Be sure to make your friends and family aware of your plans for the New Year. They can be a great support system and keep you accountable for your actions.

If you’re trying to save money, stay away from your mall-addicted friends and avoid the temptation to go out every weekend. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are going to help you accomplish your goals.

A year is a long time. Be aware that there will be days where you slip up. Maybe you let that cookie get the best of you, or sneak a cigarette after a stressful day at work. If this happens, it’s not the end of the world.

Acknowledge your mistake and know that tomorrow is another chance to do better. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Recognize the progress that you’ve made and be sure to congratulate yourself often.

After accomplishing your small goals, treat yourself to something special as a way to recognize all of your hard work. Taking a spa day for yourself, buying a new outfit or going out for dinner with friends is an excellent and healthy way to applaud your dedication.

Stop making lame excuses. If you want something bad enough, you’ll be able to accomplish it. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible. Don’t use an excuse like “I don’t have time,” If you want it, you’ll make the time.

Get out of bed a bit earlier, or shave off the amount of time you spend on Facebook or watching TV. There are 24 hours in a day, so make good use of them. It may take some getting used to, but when you have finally reached your goals, you’ll be glad you did it!

While all of these tips are helpful, it’s important to figure out exactly works for you. You know yourself better than anyone else and probably have a good idea as to how dedicated you are going to be.

Finally, the single most important thing to remember when trying to accomplish those hefty goals is that it doesn’t matter when in the year you decide to start. While January seems ideal with the fresh beginning, you have the power to make changes whenever you want. Remember, tomorrow is a brand new day.