At the start of every January, we kickoff the calendar year with New Year's Resolutions: These resolutions range from “lose 10kg”, to make better choices around alcohol”, “eat healthy meals” or “go to the gym 5 days per week”. Yet by February (or sometimes January 2nd!) we’ve returned to life as usual. The discarded New Years Resolution plans and goals left forgotten until we do it all again next year.
According to some studies, around 80 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions abandon them at some point during the year and only about 12 percent succeed with their resolutions? Many people even carry over their previous resolutions from year to year, with the idea that THIS year will be the one where those resolutions work out.
When we don’t succeed we blame ourselves for these failures:
But could it be that we expect too much, too quickly and bite off more than we can chew?
So why do we make New Year’s resolutions? We make them because we’re trying to make positive changes to our lives through changing our behaviours. If we change our behaviors for long enough, we’ve created new habits. And habits are key to sustainable changes.
What if we could stick to those New Year’s Resolutions, not just January, but forever?
What if the focus was on building long term, sustainable changes that were simple and straightforward?
Here are 7 tips to help you stick with those New Year’s Resolutions:
Focus on actions/ processes and not on the results.
Instead of: “My goal is to lose 10 kgs” or “I am not going to eat any chocolate” the focus could be “I will focus on being active 4-5 times per week, reduce sugar and alcohol and eat more vegetables” It is a small but very important difference, but in the latter example we are focusing on theprocess, not the outcome. When you lose weight or don’t eat chocolate, it is from focusing on increasing activity and eating healthier meals.
Find your Why.
Ask yourself why you want to achieve thesespecificresolutions. What is it about these resolutions that appeal to you? What is in it for your and how will they improve your life? Keep asking yourself why until you get to the real reason behind the goals. Once you know then it will help you to stay motivated and keep going. It might go something like this. “I want to lose weight” Why? “To look good and have more energy” Why? “So I can be healthier and participate in more activities” Why? “So I can live my life to the fullest and be a positive role model for people around me”.
Keep it Simple.
Limiting the number of resolutions is a good way to focus on what you really want to achieve. Instead of making list after list of Resolutions, pick the top 2-3 and decide to work on those. You won’t overwhelm yourself and you can free up mental energy for other things in your life.
Visualise being successful.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself thinner, fitter, not smoking, eating healthy meals, feeling into those nice clothes, reading more, etc. Whatever it is you want to do more of, focus on what it will feel like and how it will change your life in a positive manner. This will help to remember why you are doing it and help you to stay on track.
Be honest with yourself. If your goal is to prepare home cooked meals 5 x per week but you have to travel for work, take the kids to events after school or any other reason where you won’t be at home to cook you will constantly be over reaching and tiring yourself out trying to achieve an unrealistic expectation. So modify your plan to spend 1-2 nights cooking a home cooked meal and having Muscle Fuel meals 5-6 instead- which you can heat and eat if you are on the run. This also ties in with the next point.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser. Planning your day or week out may seem tedious but it doesn’t have to be. With your goals in mind think about what you want to do and plan your day around your resolutions. If your resolution is to lose 10 kgs then what do you want to do during the day to help you towards that goal? Is it planning on attending the gym or going for a walk in the evening after dinner? By having a plan and implementing it, you're more likely to be successful
Have a Support Network.
Do you have similar New Year Resolutions as one of your friends or family members? Supporting each other is a great way to feed off of each other and keep each other accountable. It doesn’t have to be every week but once a month to take the time to reflect on your progress and barriers is time well spent and to give a little nudge in the right direction.
Stay the course. You’ve got this!
Success Coach at Muscle Fuel