New year’s resolutions! Most make them. Most break them! Now be honest. How many of you swore come January second you were to become a 5-a-day vegetable eating, non-smoking, meat-once-weekly eating, 2 litre water drinking, 7-days-a-week gym bunny? On top of all the others that were added to the list; reply to emails daily, less activity on social media, go to bed earlier and get 8hrs sleep every night. Even for the most seasoned control freaks that’s a lot to take on. And this is the reason most people fail. Too many resolutions, unrealistic expectations and no goal setting.
If you’ve fallen of the wagon already, there’s still time to hop back on (there’s always time fyi, even if it is June when this happens). Or if you need some inspiration on how to stick to them once and for all. Here are some of my top tips to help you in sticking to new year resolutions.
Top tips on sticking to New Year resolutions
- Set some goals. Don’t just say “I’m going to lose weight” in January; you need a plan of action! Be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed) with your goals. Meaning decide how much you want to lose, it must be clear. How will you measure the weight loss eg. scales, pictures, clothing size. Be honest, is the goal actually achievable and realistic in your time-frame. For example losing 30lbs in 30 days by going to the gym once a week is not. But losing 30lbs in 6 months by going to the gym 3 x per week and improving diet is.
- Start small. Now you have your big, long term goal of losing 30lbs by increasing activity and improving diet, break this down into smaller goals. At the start of each week set a new goal (SMART) of what you want to achieve. Again be realistic. Rather than go to the gym every day, set a goal to go to the gym 3 days that week and go for a 15min walk in your lunch breaks.
- Don’t do everything at once. Maybe the first month you start by increasing your physical activity. Then in month two you start to make some changes to your diet. And it could be that just by increasing your physical activity you naturally start to make changes to your diet anyway, because you are starting to feel healthier you start to turn away the unhealthy snacks/desserts.
- Write it down! This makes you accountable and also gives you an opportunity to reflect if you slip up.
- Get support. Why not invest in some personal training to get you on track and motivated? Or get a buddy to join you, you’ll be less likely to cancel on them if you have an agreed session together. Attend some group training classes. It’s great for morale and also less intimidating.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Habits, behaviours and outcomes have taken a long time to establish themselves and changes aren’t going to happen over night. Perfection is also impossible. But always strive to do your best and if you slip up, pick yourself up and start again. No shame in that.
- Reflect. Look back on what is working for you or not. If at 3 months you are halfway to your goal then you’re doing great, if not then you need to review where you need to make changes.
- Be positive. Instead of thinking about what you are trying to lose (30lbs), think about what you are trying to gain (better health, body confidence).
Remember personal growth, change and development is a continuous process. You can use these tips to help you reach your better self all year, why just wait until January?