How to Keep up Your New Year Resolution [Seven Rules]

It’s the time of the year when you come up with new year resolution – sometimes under a peer pressure and sometimes when you really want to make that change.

But once things settle in and life gets back to normal (post Jan 3rd?), you still would need to find a mechanism to keep up your new year resolution.

Here are a few tips that will help you.

A. Buy a Diary. An Expensive one.

Buy an expensive diary – something that pokes a deep hole your pocket. The thing with free diary is that you don’t take it seriously and in most of the cases, we know that last year’s diary is lying somewhere in your house.

Jot down your resolutions in the diary (wait till you read the rest of the points).

B. Set Goals

Resolutions work when they are goal driven. You can ‘get healthy this year’, but ‘20 minutes jogging every day’ is what makes ‘being healthy’ a viable resolution.

Do not use statements like ‘I will improve my self esteem’, instead use ‘I will join ToastMasters Club on January 29th’ (or something similar that will help you attain the goal).

C. Set Incremental Goals.

Even if you want to quit smoking by 2011, you should set incremental goals (bring down the count to 2 packs/day by February, half by April).

Now take out your expensive diary and write these goals against the dates you have decided.

Though, there are online tools (43Things), but nothing comes closer to writing it down. Just do it.

D. Do Not Have More than 5 Goals

Lets accept it. You can’t focus on new year resolutions beyond a certain point. The key to keeping up your new year resolutions is to keep it simple and at the same time, ensure that you aren’t running after too many high impact goals.

Do not go beyond 5 high-impact goals. Ideally, you shouldn’t be running after more than 2 high impacting goals at the same time. Keep it sequential.

Take out your diary. Write down the start day of your goal plus milestones for incremental goals.

E. Incentivize

A friend of mine has interesting incentives when it comes to share trading. He sets rich incentives like buying a Bose system, when his returns (from share trading) crosses certain value. Most of the times, he is successful!

Incentivize yourself and as Gawker puts it, do not disincentivize as well.

Most people fail at their resolutions and punish themselves. Skipping out on a vacation because you didn’t lose your 50 pounds is stupid and only going to make you more depressed, which will make you eat more and lead you in the totally wrong direction.

F. Disrupt Yourself

Very often, we are unsure of the change that the new year resolution is going to bring. Be it about quitting smoking to new life style, there is a bit of uncertainty around things like ‘What will my friends say?’.

Do something radically different. Change your hair style. Change your dressing style. Move to formals, if you are known as the guy who wears Jeans all the time (and vice versa).

Disrupt yourself – because New Year is the best time for this. People are more open to change (plus funny things!) and this is your moment.

G. Share

Talk to your friends. Blog about your new year resolutions. The key here to action (in this case) is sharing with others – this brings a sense of confidence, attachment and accountability to one’s goal.

The fact that I am writing this article is an example of my seriousness about the new year resolution! So just do it. Keep it simple. Do not use a lot of technology (ToDo sites/mobile apps).

Simply write the damn thing in your (expensive) diary.

What’s your take? How do you keep up your new year resolution?

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