Three weeks into 2011 and how are your New Year’s resolutions? Were they realistic? Did you set yourself up for failure or success? Now is the time to take stock and keep yourself on track with a ‘think positive’ attitude.

One survey (2007, quirkology.com) suggests that although 52% of people felt confident of success, after a year only 12% had achieved what they set out to do. In fact, forget the figure of 12%. The fact that barely half of the people in the survey had any confidence when they set their goal tells us that sometimes the only thing more traditional than making a New Year’s resolution is failing a New Year’s resolution.

But Let’s think positive. How do we succeed?

First of all, we need to be sure that we have made the right resolution. It’s all too easy in the post-festive period of recovery to swear off alcohol and rich food or pledge to make the most of your gym membership, but is that the right frame of mind in which to set your January goals? Here’s a question: did your resolution stem from negative beliefs? The most common goals often do:

  • get fitter (I’m unhealthy)
  • lose weight (I’m too big)
  • give up smoking (I smoke too much)
  • give up drinking (I drink too much)
  • spend more time with my family (I’m not a good father/daughter/etc.)
  • be more organised (my life is chaotic)
  • be less stressed (I work too hard)
  • These are all potentially good resolutions, but they are all built on negative foundations. If we are to succeed, we need to build something more positive to work with.

    Here are seven ‘think positive’ tips for resolution success:

  • Focus – choose one resolution and stick to it (it’s easier than juggling half a dozen).
  • Realistic milestones – make it easy to notice when you’re succeeding; e.g. Don’t say, I’ll be better with money; Do say, I will reduce my overdraft by £50 every month.
  • Make a NEW New Year’s resolution – picking the same one that didn’t work last year just returns you to old feelings of frustration.
  • Use positive language – it you focus on ‘giving up’ smoking then you’re more likely to just ‘give up’; better to think about the positive benefits to help your commitment.
  • Long-term benefits – think about why you’re doing this; e.g. why do you want to lose weight? What will it give you? Focus on the new designer wardrobe rather than the punitive salads.
  • Go public – telling others about your resolution takes it out of your head and puts into the real world. Facebook and Twitter are ideal for announcing your resolution, posting your progress and then receiving your friends’ encouragement to succeed.
  • Positive reinforcement – be kind to yourself; regard any slippage as temporary and all success as worthy of reward.
    Whatever your resolution, this early stage is the time to check you’re on the right course, give yourself a boost and think positive!