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How New Year's resolutions can help you reach your goals.

What do you want to achieve this year? Take up a new sport or hobby? Be more organised? Read more books? Spend less time online? Research has shown that explicitly setting out your goals increases the likelihood of you achieving them – so if there's something you want to achieve this year, making a commitment to it now might just help you get there.

This is one reason why New Year’s resolutions are so popular, with around one third of the UK population making them. But when almost half of those New Year resolutions are discarded within a month, how can we set ones that won't see us throw in the towel by February?

Read on to find out why New Year's resolutions can be a helpful tool, and how to make them stick.

Why Make Goals or Resolutions Anyway?

New Year or not, there are proven benefits to setting yourself goals; here are four good reasons to consider making some as we start 2024.

  1. Finding your path: Goals give us direction. They help us work out what we really want and where we want to go.
  2. Growing up: Resolutions push us out of our comfort zones. They can help you to learn new skills, pick up healthy habits, and grow in confidence.
  3. A sense of achievement: When we reach our goals, it's like winning a personal trophy. It boosts our confidence and reminds us that we're capable of doing amazing things.
  4. Time wizardry: Setting goals teaches us how to manage our time, and that's a really helpful skill to have in all aspects of life.

So, having goals and ambitions is a great idea, but you can have too much of a good thing. Setting overly ambitious goals, or setting too many, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Here are some tips for setting goals that challenge you, but won’t make you want to give up before the end of January.

How to Set Goals You'll Actually Reach:

  1. Be specific: Instead of saying, "I'll do better in school," try, "I'll improve my maths grade by one level this term." This way you know exactly what you are aiming for, and you’ll know when you’ve achieved it.
  2. Keep it real: Set goals that you can actually reach. Dreaming big is great, but don’t set yourself an impossible task.
  3. Break them down: Split big goals into bite-sized pieces. It's easier to handle and feels less overwhelming.
  4. Quality over quantity: Focus on a few goals that truly matter to you. Having lots and lots of goals might spread you too thin.
  5. Celebrate the wins: When you make progress, celebrate it! Even small victories count and keep you motivated.
  6. Stay flexible: Sometimes plans change, and that's okay. Adjust your goals as life throws curveballs.

Don't try to do too much:

It's essential to challenge yourself without overstretching. Overcommitting or setting unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout and demotivation. Here's some tips to help you strike a balance:

  1. Know yourself: Understand what you can handle. Push yourself, but don't drown in the pressure.
  2. 'Me time' matters: Balance your goals with chill-out time. Hobbies and friends are just as important as your resolutions.
  3. Ask for help: It's completely fine to ask for advice or support. Teachers, friends, or family can cheer you on and help you stay on track.

Remember, the journey is just as valuable as reaching the destination. So have a think about what you want to achieve in 2024 and make a start; even one small change can make a difference and remember – in case you aren’t reading this in January – you can start any time. Here's to a year filled with growth, success, and fulfilment!