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The New Year has traditionally brought many opportunities and challenges. In connection with them, people like to make New Year’s resolutions to change their lives. Most often they want to lose weight, gain muscle or change their diet. Setting similar goals is initially accompanied by a great deal of commitment. Frequently, however, this enthusiasm gradually goes away. Many already give up in February. Others last longer, but according to statistics, only less than half of people stick to their plans after six months. 
Have you ever thought about why it is? Do you know how to manage New Year’s resolutions so that you are motivated and able to succeed? Today we will try to find an effective solution to this problem. Plus, it doesn’t have to be just a resolution. This article will help you whenever you decide to change something in your life.
If you want to know how not to start with your resolutions or any goals, read our Article 10 Worst Ways to Get Started with a New Year’s Resolution.
The most common causes of failure
Before embarking on tips on how to succeed, it is necessary to think about the source of the failure. Its causes can be different. However, the most common ones are applicable for New Year’s resolutions, as well as in any effort to achieve your goal. If you have failed in the past, you may find the cause somewhere in the following points. [2–5]
1. You mistake a marathon for a sprint
Most of us want to achieve everything right away and in the beginning, we rush to get there. However, the journey is much longer and you cannot sprint in a marathon race. You will run out of power very quickly and the target will remain unachieved. Ultimately, perseverance and consistency in the form of small daily actions will always beat a short period of time in full-speed mode. So it’s crucial to change habits slowly but steadily.
2. You don’t believe in yourself
If in the past you have failed to fulfil the New Year’s resolution or achieve a goal, it will probably be difficult to believe again. But who cares if you failed once or twice? You should rather think that you can try again and this time. Success is what counts! And that’s what can drive you along the way as you meet your small sub-goals.
3. You don’t understand the importance of setting yourself a goal
Many people mistakenly believe that setting a goal means writing it down and adding an estimated date to it. After a while, it can easily happen to be stuck on the same spot, while you will keep telling yourself you still have plenty of time. But the opposite is true, because the journey itself is already a goal that you are beginning to fulfil on the first day. Therefore, remember that setting a goal means changing yourself in the long term. We’ll talk more about the goal-setting process below.
4. Patience is not your strength
In order to fulfil a resolution or achieve a goal, it is necessary to have a plan that you will patiently follow. The results will not come in a week or a month. The sooner you realize this, the better. For example, if you want to lose 10 kilograms, you should understand that it didn’t take you a week to gain this weight, but rather a few months or years. So it is unrealistic to want to lose that much weight in a week. You should therefore make sure that your plan is feasible.
5. You make excuses
When trying to lose weight, how many times have you blamed bad genetics? This is one of the most common excuses of those who have failed. You can’t change your genetics, but you can accept that fact and come up with a better strategy to help you achieve the success and become the best version of yourself.
6. You are not motivated enough
One of the strongest factors for achieving goals and fulfilling commitments is motivation. If it’s weak, your journey is likely to end before it begins. Therefore, it is necessary to think carefully about why you want to achieve the set goal and what you are willing to sacrifice for it. We will talk more about motivation below.
Motivation is essential for fulfilling resolutions
The above factors can cause that your goals and resolutions will remain unfulfilled. However, motivation remains one of the key factors, because it serves as your “fuel”. It can help kick-start your healthy lifestyle, change your eating habits or maintain a consist workout schedule.
Do you remember a situation where you did something and it led to the fulfilment of your goal? You were probably very passionate at the time and excited about change. But then came the reality – a long day at work or various other responsibilities. Fatigue set in and your efforts gradually evaporated. That’s why you should cultivate motivation along with healthy habits. 
It should be something strong enough to get you started in any situation. However, self-discipline is even more important. It is the ability to control one’s behaviour so that they avoid temptation and achieve set goals. You can read about how to acquire, maintain and further develop it in the article Self-Discipline: the Key to Success in Sports and in Life.
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Tips on how to keep your motivation
Creating new habits that relate to a specific goal or resolution requires time and energy. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, if you start taking gradual small steps, your motivation will not wear off and you will achieve sustainable change. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Start from what you feel inside
First and foremost, you need to understand why you want to achieve a specific goal or stick to a resolution. What will it bring you and why is it important to you? It’s not enough to just see a photo of a perfect-looking body on Instagram and mumble to yourself that you wouldn’t mind to have that too. Internal desire is significant.
Find your “why”. Take time to think about what change entails. Feel free to write down the pros and cons on a piece of paper. In this case, you increase your chances of success when the pros ratio far outweighs the cons. However, make sure that the pros are relevant to you and strong enough. 
Our article 5 Tips to Stay Active, Motivated, and Not to Give Up Exercising at Home can help you figure out your “why”.
2. Plan ahead
Before you start, it’s a good idea to find out what your journey will bring and make a plan. Let’s say you want to run a marathon. So you should consider the fact that you will have to run quite often. If you’ve never done this before, it’s a good idea to start from scratch. In the beginning, try to go only for 10 minutes runs. You don’t have to try to run 10 kilometres right away. First and foremost, it’s about developing habits, not breaking training records. There will be time for them later. Of course, we must not forget that the consistency always beats the intensity.
Starting to run is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. You will find a great and effective step-by-step guide in the article How to start running? A simple guide for complete beginners.
If you want to gain muscle, a gym 3 to 4 times a week will definitely be necessary. As with all activities, starting a habit will be enough. This triggers a spell that makes difficult things easier as the time goes by. The plan for achieving these goals should include a time frame, but also all the necessary steps you need to take in the meantime. If you want to gain muscle, you will need to adjust your diet as well. Without energy, enough protein and a growth impulse in the form of some exercise, it is difficult to grow muscles.
Don’t be afraid to be creative when preparing your action plan. Start a diary, use coloured markers to write, and add titles. This process could activate a completely different part of your brain and strengthen the goals in your mind. [8–9]
Steps for setting a plan:
To summarize, follow these steps to set up a plan :
- Define your goal clearly
- Break it down into easier-to-reach sub-goals
- Add a time frame to reach your goal (or sub-goals)
- Schedule your daily tasks
- Track your progress to stay motivated
- Adjust the next steps in accordance with the progress made
3. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars
Remember that dreams may not only exist when you sleep. Dream big even when you are awake. Don’t be afraid of ambitious goals, because with perseverance, encouragement, and support you can do anything. In addition, big goals often inspire people around you. They will support you or help you – for example, by training with you or occasionally taking on your regular responsibilities to save you time.
A great idea is to consult your fitness dreams with someone who is more experienced in this field. It can save you time and unnecessary hassle. If you do not have one in your area, use the services of a personal trainer. They will help you make sure that your goals make sense, are realistic and will help you achieve them. If you’re looking for other ways to succeed, take a look at the environment around you and try to make things easier for yourself.
Let’s say you want to exercise every morning. Prepare your fitness clothes and other equipment near the bed the day before. Set the alarm and move it away from the bed so that you have to get up to turn it off. Once you’re up, there will be no more complex thoughts in your head like: “I don’t want to get up!”, “Should I even exercise in the morning?”, or “I don’t want to go look for my fitness clothes and accessories.” You are already up and you have everything ready. All you have to do is get dressed and start the day with a workout. That sounds a lot easier, don’t you think? 
4. Discover the power of positive mindset
Undoubtedly, maintaining motivation to achieve your fitness goals or resolutions is sometimes difficult. However, much of the success lies only in your head. You also should not compare yourself with others. According to one study, the way you think may affect your results. It engaged 60,000 people for 16 years. Specifically, it focused on the level of physical activity and respondents’ views on the state of their own form.
It turned out that people who compared themselves to others in the gym thought they were much less active and did not do as much for their health as their colleagues. Conclusions suggest that acknowledging your own efforts can have a big impact on your results. Bear that in mind. In short, do not compare yourself to anyone, because each of us lives a different life. We have different worries, commitments, etc. Remember the times you went to school.
You probably had a lot of time that you could spend learning and having fun. As an adult, you have to go to work, take care of the household, children, pets or any other responsibilities. Therefore, each of us does what we can and tries to work with the conditions we are given. 
Our article 12 Tips on How to Take a Positive Approach to Life, Even in Difficult Life Situations, can help you change your mindset.
5. Forgive yourself
Even positive thinking can’t save you from occasional failure. But that’s okay. After all, who has never made any mistakes they now regret? Concentrating on the past and burden your mind will not help you in any way to fulfil your goals or resolutions.
Did you miss today’s workout? Did you have an extra bite of chocolate ? Or did you go over your daily caloric intake? Don’t worry. Forgive yourself and return to the path that will lead you to your destination. There is nothing worse than giving up after one failure and then trying to get back into it after a week or month. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and know your weaknesses. If you only exercise once a week, you probably can’t expect this activity to significantly help you lose weight or gain muscle. 
Instead of wasting time and learning from your own mistakes, give yourself space for education. With the right information, you will do better and eliminate mistakes in the beginning. However, seek knowledge only from relevant sources. You can start with quality blogs or books. Gradually, you will learn how to compile a quality training plan or what a healthy diet is and how to incorporate it into your life. All this information can help you on your journey and make it easier to reach your destination.
6. Visualize your goals
Probably most of you have heard “If you can see it, you can be it”. You might say it’s just another empty motivational quote, but there is still something to it. Visualization and self-imagination in a certain situation or at the point when you reach your goal can be very important for achieving it. It is a technique often used by even the best athletes in the world.
It is true that if you can visualize and imagine something, there is a higher chance that you can achieve it. The same can be applied to fitness goals and resolutions. If you have trouble even imagining achieving them, it will probably be even harder in reality. Thus, visualization can help increase your performance and achieve your goal. You can imagine how good you will look after the change and that will drive you forward. 
For example, if you fancy a bucket of ice cream, imagine that eating it will take you back three steps. Instead, visualize your goal and postpone the reward. After reaching it, you will have every right to treat yourself.
7. Enjoy it
Take the process of achieving goals as a long-term journey. If you suffer every day because you hate everything you have to do, you probably won’t succeed. Find activities that you enjoy and help you achieve your short-term and long-term goals. For example, if you don’t like running, but like riding a bike or playing any team sport, take advantage of it and enjoy the physical activity you love.
You should try to get physical activity into your normal daily routine -of course, one that will entertain you. And the same goes for a healthy diet – If you can’t stand broccoli and want to eat it just because you know how healthy it is, replace it with another food, such as green beans.
Alternatively, reach for another similar vegetable that you prefer. It’s about having fun with the whole process. You need to stick to your plan, maintain consistency, and keep moving forward. Enjoying the process of achieving your goals and looking back on what you have achieved is one of the best feelings you can experience. It’s something no one can take from you. [15–16]
Maintaining motivation for New Year’s resolutions or other goals can be difficult. However, if you look around you, you will certainly see a few examples that prove that nothing is impossible. It is important to start from the beginning. Before you do anything, start with your mind. Find your strong “why” that will motivate you. Gradually, you will develop new habits that will keep you on a long journey leading to the fulfilment of your goals. Good luck!
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