How to keep New Year’s Resolutions

Last week, I shared my new year’s resolutions. Seven days later, some of them are going well, others I haven’t quite started yet, and a couple I’ve completely failed at. So I’ve been thinking about how to turn it around, before we get too far into the year and all my resolutions get forgotten. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to other people too 🙂

1. Remember to start

Quite a useful one. One of my resolutions was to clear my desk every Friday afternoon, ready to start fresh on Monday. Unfortunately, I totally forgot until 5.30pm on Friday, when I was supposed to leave. Cue five minutes of frantic tidying before running out the door.

clean desk

And then there’s the getting up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning, which has just been a total disaster, because I’m basically incapable of getting out of bed. Maybe tomorrow…

2. Tell other people

Writing resolutions on a blog is good, but telling people you see every day is even better. If they know what you’re hoping to achieve or give up, and they’re in a position to nag you regularly, you’re under more pressure to actually make it happen. I have a lot of people waiting to read my novel, and they’re not about to let me forget I promised to have a finished draft for them by the end of this year.

Also, if other people know, they can join in. I’ve already roped in a bunch of other people to come with me to the theatre over the next few weeks. I don’t think they mind too much.

3. Make it a competition

Not necessarily against other people, although that’s good too. I’m learning German as part of a work challenge (which other people are more than willing to join in with, by the way) and wanting to beat my colleagues is keeping me more than motivated. Not least because the person who loses in the office has to make tea and coffee for everyone for a day, and I’ve no intention of being that person.

Language challenge scoreboard

But I find competitions against myself are quite effective too. One of my goals is to stop worrying about stuff, and every time I do, I have to donate at least £1 to charity. So far, my total is £3, and believe it or not, that’s actually a good week.

4. Start gradually (a.k.a. If you mess up, make an excuse and try again)

Giving something up can be difficult. I had great plans to give up snacking, but there’s still a lot of Christmas goodies lying around, and people keep having birthdays at work (so inconsiderate). I managed to resist the chocolate cake last week, but caved in the face of panettone – but that has fruit in it so it’s healthy, right? – and I figure halfway is better than nothing.

5. See it as an opportunity

Sometimes new year’s resolutions feel like a bit of a chore, especially if they involve a lot of effort. Making the book into something readable feels like a massive task right now, but think how exciting it’ll be when it’s done (well, exciting for me, anyway – everyone else might find it really dull). And while learning German may be hard work, I’m looking forward to the day I can go to Germany and talk to people. Not to mention all the cups of tea I’ll get.

So, here’s the progress report so far:

1. Get the novel ready – not started yet…

2. Go to the theatre more – three London shows already booked for the next two months, and more planned.

3. Clear the desk every Friday – so far so good (just).

4. Get up fifteen minutes earlier – let’s not talk about that.

5. Stop snacking – sort of…

6. Stop worrying about silly things – only £3 donated to charity so far (not bad).

7. Learn German – pretty good, ask me anything (as long as it’s to do with first words, fruit, adjectives or food and drink).

How’s everyone else getting on with your resolutions? Anyone doing anything exciting?

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