Hands up if you’ve ever made a new year’s resolution that you didn’t manage to stick to? Yep! That’s just about everyone! In recent years I’ve even given up making any new resolutions because I knew I would never see them through. The thing is however, that new year is a time for new beginnings. Warmer weather and lighter days are on their way and it feels like we can make a fresh start. It’s such a positive thing to do and hope springs eternal, so why not commit yourself to a change this year? Here’s our tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolutions.
If you try to make too many resolutions at once you’ll never stick to them, so channel your energy into just one area that you want to change.
What do you actually want out of life? If you want to lose weight because the media says you should, that’s the wrong reason. Far better to consider what will make you happy in the long run and go with that.
Rather than aiming to lose half your body weight by the time you go on holiday in the summer, it’s much better – and healthier – if you decide you would like to lose a few pounds in January, and a few more in February and so on. Set yourself some small goals that you can achieve. Starving yourself won’t help. So apply yourself to thinking of ways in which you can eat more healthily and take more exercise. Small goals can include walking for 30 minutes three times a week, or going to a Pilates class, as well as cutting out chocolate on three days, or always grilling your food, never frying it.
This can apply to any area. If you want to declutter your house for example, choose a room to do in the first few weeks, and take it from there. If you want to write a novel, write 500 words per day, three days a week. Lifestyle change is the key to success.
Some lifestyle changes (like dieting or exercise) may well feel like a punishment. Stop thinking that way. If you enjoy swimming, surely heading to the pool three times a week is a treat? Eating a yoghurt instead of a heavy pudding is light and satisfying. If you ‘fall off the wagon’ that’s fine, get back on it as soon as you can.
Understand that we are all different and perfection is unattainable. Celebrate who you are as an individual. Focus on the great things you bring to the table.
Your resolution should not be a secret. The more you share it and talk about your goal with others, the more likely you are to achieve your desired outcome. Friends and family can be there to support you when you feel you aren’t doing as well as you would have liked. Even better, buddy up with someone who wants to do the same thing as you. If your resolution is particularly tricky you might need some professional support so don’t shy away from asking for it.
The more you intellectualise what you want to do, the more likely you will be to stick to it. Read up on what you want to do. Who can you draw on for inspiration? Use a journal to record your progress, or make yourself a chart or spreadsheet that you can use as a visual prompt. Revisit these when you feel your resolve is failing.
It has been said that a new activity takes three weeks to become a habit and six months to fully become part of your personality. Unfortunately, it won’t happen overnight – so make sure you’ve in it for the long game. If you find you have given up, recommit yourself and do another week’s worth. Keep recommitting. There will be problems but it’s a measure of your strength how you surmount them.
At regular intervals, why not reward yourself if you are meeting your goals? This could be buying new clothing if you’ve lost weight, or treating yourself to a spa day or massage if you’ve been working hard.
Pick a day to start your new resolution (not January 1st!) and go for it 100%. Look forward to the moment you begin and embrace the change wholeheartedly. This is the start of something big. A new year, a new you!
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