5 expert tips for keeping your New Year's resolution

It’s that time of year again – when we promise to banish bad habits and form new healthy ones. But did you know more than 9-in-10 New Year’s resolutions become unstuck by February?

Here are five tips from psychology and motivation experts to help you achieve your goals in 2016.

1. Re-educate yourself  

Perhaps you want to save for a cruise. But financial planning has never been one of your strengths. Or it’s finally time to tackle that home renovation project, but it’s your first time building.

In both scenarios, Productivity Coach, Faye Hollands says you need to up-skill. “Learning more about both topics will help move you closer to your goal.”

Try this: Write down 2 to 3 ways you can up-skill before you start.

2. Don't start on New Year's Day 

It might sound counter-intuitive, but have you ever wondered if New Year’s Day is really the best time to start a new project? Psychotherapist, Nick Sutherland, says there’s never a ‘good time’ to start.

Try this: Choose a date that means something to you. For example, start a new hobby on your birthday. Or lose 5kg by your next wedding anniversary.

3. Make it formal 

Research shows that making a formal declaration increases your chances of achieving your goal by 33%. Try posting your goal on Facebook. And send regular progress updates to family and friends to stay on track. Or put money on it – you’ll be more likely to follow through.

Try this: Declare your resolution with Promise or Pay – an Australian-based website connecting goals with charitable donations. 

4. Embrace spirituality 

A popular saying in yogic philosophy is, “it takes 40 days to make or break a habit”. Director of Shri Yoga, Julie Smerdon, agrees. “Repetition is the most powerful way to re-program your body and your mind. When you make the daily decision to show up for your goal every single day…new neural pathways are blazed.”

Try this: Repeat, repeat, repeat! 

5. Stay focused

Focus on the pleasure of achieving your goal, says author of Extraordinary You, Vanessa Talbot. For instance, it may be hard to give up pasta at first. But if you visualise the outcome, instead of the short-term process, you’re more likely to succeed.

Try this: Create an inspiration board (at home or online) to help you stay focused.

What are your goals for the new year? What will you aim to do more or less of?