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Whatever your goal, a freshly minted New Year is the perfect time to make a start on it. Change is a good thing. Unfortunately, change is also hard work. That’s why even though many people wake on January 1 truly believing the year ahead is the one they’ll make the big changes they’ve dreamed of, very few of them actually do. Research suggests only about 8 per cent of those who set New Year’s goals achieve them.

So what are the most popular goals leading into 2017, and how can you stick to them?

1. Get fit

Perhaps you’re wanting to overhaul your exercise routine, begin one from scratch or take your existing one to the next level – either way, joining a gym or fitness group is the easy part. It’s sticking to the weekly workout routine where most people eventually come unstuck. Getting up in the dark before work or finding the motivation after a long day in the office can quickly turn working out into a chore. To stay on track, try enlisting an accountability partner or friend to join you – you’ll be less likely to ditch a class or workout if someone is waiting for you. Also try mixing it up – keep your fitness activities interesting and fresh and you’ll be more inclined to continue with them.

 

2. Enjoy life to the fullest

Enjoying life to the fullest is a great goal, but what does it mean for you? Everyone’s definition of fun and enjoyment is different, as is everyone’s idea of living a full life, so first establish what matters to you, what you enjoy, and how and who you like spending your time with, then factor in some time each week to make sure you’re doing exactly that. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. If you want to maximize the most from life, have a solid think about what makes you happy and fulfilled and then factor in time for it. Treat your ‘happy me time’ as an appointment - as important as a work meeting.

 

3. Spend less, save more

Before you start a savings plan, reflect on your spending habits, understanding what you do right and what you don’t. Make sure you know where you stand in terms of the money you owe, as this helps with the planning process. Once you know where all your money is going, you’ll be able to find the areas where you can cut back. Make a budget and consult it weekly, ensuring you’re staying on track. Focus on your target goal or amount and remind yourself of it when temptation strikes.

 

4. Spend more time with family and friends

Many people wish they had more time to spend with family and friends. The truth is you have to make the time for them – much the same way you do for other commitments. Whilst it might not be romantic or spontaneous, scheduling in time with your partner, family and friends is a great way to make sure you actually get some quality time with them. Plan catch-ups in advance, and plan them frequently. People that spend time with those they love have better emotional health and wellbeing over those that don’t.

 

5. Get organised

Organisation isn’t a dirty word – being more organised can lead to less overwhelm and stress in your life. If you need help staying on track – with fitness, money, meal planning, chores, scheduling and goals – consider using an app, or even a diary, calendar or regular old notebook and pen. Find a method you like and can stick to, and use it every day – to track where you’re at, but also plan ahead. Recognise your areas of weakness – tidying up, grocery shopping, running late etc. – then find ways to solve them or streamline them.