Making - and sticking - to those New Year Resolutions! 

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Everyone starts off the New Year having good intentions over something, whether it’s exercising more, eating better or learning a new sailing skill.  

However, what seems like a brilliant, easily-maintainable idea when you open your slightly jaded eyes on New Year’s Day can soon become that thing you were going to do and just never got round to. Some people will dismiss it simply as one of those things while others will beat themselves up about why they couldn’t keep yet ANOTHER resolution.  

The thing about any resolution, New Year’s or otherwise, is you need a genuine motivation to want to do it. Without a motivation you are doomed to fail while even with a motivation taking the easy way out can often be a tempting option.  

A resolution is simply a goal, something you want to achieve. How you keep your motivation to achieve what you want to achieve is key.  

Skandia Team GBR’s sailors spend their careers setting targets. They may have one long-term ambition they want to achieve but to reach that point they have to first accomplish a whole series of other targets or steps. Just imagining the final target but not appreciating all the things they need to do to get there will more than likely lead to that ambition not being realised.  

Some of the steps the sailors follow to structure their campaigns can be applied to approaching New Year’s Resolutions.  

Skandia Team GBR lead psychologist Ben Chell offers a few handy hints as to how you can make 2011 the year you manage to see your New Year’s resolution through..................  

The more aware you are of your thoughts, actions and behaviours the more likely you are to be able to manage them.   

For example, when you are feeling a bit down do you always turn to chocolate? Or do you talk yourself of going out on the water when it is cold even though you know you will wish you had gone out later?  

Ask yourself why do you behave in this way?  

By finding answers to these questions you will start becoming more self-aware and the more self-aware you are the more you will start to realise that how you think and behave is a choice and not a foregone conclusion.  

The more you choose to think and behave in a certain way, the more likely you are to be able to manage what you do. You may feel rubbish, and that chocolate may be looking alluringly at you, but you can choose not to eat it. Honestly!  

This is probably the most important process you can go through when trying to achieve any goal or keep any resolution.  

It will enable you to:
- Prepare – for what you want to achieve
- Focus – on how you can achieve it
- Learn – how you react to certain things or situations and how you can choose to react differently next time giving you more confidence  

1)      Plan
What do you want to achieve?
What is your main goal(s)?
Does your plan include a way to build your confidence?
Having a clear goal will improve your focus  

2)      Do
What are the things you need to do to keep to your plan?
How do you know when you are not following your plan?

3)      Review
What actually happened? The facts not an interpretation laden with excuses!
What did you learn?
Will you be able to take confidence from this in the future?
Would you do the same next time?
What would do differently next time?
What will be your future plan in this situation?  

Plan-Do-Review gives you a basic structure and motivation to keep you on track with your resolutions.  

The more you get into the habit of reviewing what you have done, and altering your plan accordingly, the more you will get into a routine and if you get into a routine you are much more likely to be able to stick to your plan.  

REMEMBER: Just because you may lapse once doesn’t mean you have to give up altogether – learning from why you lapsed and moving on from there will keep you on the right track to achieving your goal.  

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing." Sarah Ayton – Double Olympic Gold Medallist