The New Year marks a fresh start for many and is the perfect opportunity to change your old ways and establish a new, happier, healthier, lifestyle. Unfortunately, resolutions are easier to make than to keep, and by the end of February, many of us may have abandoned our resolve and settled back into our bad habits…
But this New Year will be different. Because, to help you see your resolutions through - and come out of the new year feeling more confident and with a large sense of achievement - we’ve gathered some advice on how to make your resolution a reality.
MAKE A LIST
The first step to reaching your goal is to have a goal in the first place. So, make a list of the changes to yourself, or your lifestyle that you’d like to make and write them down. Ask yourself, what is it about your present that brings you down or that you’re not completely happy with?
Consider how you can improve your health? Could you drink more water?
Quit smoking? Stop eating fast food? Become vegetarian? Exercise more?
Question how you could improve your relationship with others. Are there ways that you can be a better spouse, parent, or friend? Is there someone with who you’d like to reconnect with?
Think about your work life. Ask yourself, Can I be more successful and happier at work? Be more organised? Improve team performance?
Resolutions will be different for everyone, but what’s important is that you come out of the new year with increased confidence and a sense of achievement.
THINK BIG, BUT START SMALL
The most common reason for people giving up is that they’ve set their sights too high and given themselves an unattainable goal, one that drastically changes their routine from one day to the next.
For example, someone who rarely does any exercise may have the goal of losing 5 stones and will therefore commit themselves to going to the gym five days a week. In this instance, they’re going from ‘never exercising’ to ‘exercising nearly every day’. This drastic change of lifestyle is not maintainable, and will most likely lead to giving up. Instead, have a big final goal in mind, but set yourself lots of small goals to start with.
So, following from the previous example, someone who wants to lose 5 stones may have a goal path that goes like this:
Drink 2 litres of water a day → Swap out fizzy drinks for cordial or herbal tea → Limit takeaways to once a week → Do light exercise 3 times a week → Control your snacking, and cut down on unhealthy snacks → Include carbohydrates in only one of your daily meals, and focus on eating more fruits, vegetables and protein → Avoid takeaways and ready meals as best as you can → Do 15 minutes of exercise a day → Start weight training once a week → Increase intensity of your exercise for 3 days a week → Weight train twice a week
In this example, you have 11 small goals which start off with just drinking 2 litres of water a day, and end with eating more healthily and doing mildly intense exercise 5 days a week. So, while the person may not lose 5 stones in a year, instead they’ll get into a healthier routine which will result in them reaching their fitness goals. Every resolution can be broken down into smaller, more achievable goals. So, this new year, start slowly and work consistently, so that you can adjust to the changes more easily.
AVOID REPEATING PAST FAILURES
If you’re looking to try again at a resolution that may not have been successful in previous years, evaluate your successes and your downfalls. Which strategies worked well for you? Which didn't? What prevented you from achieving your resolution before?
By adjusting your approach, you’ll be more likely to see results this time around.
MAKE A PLAN
Identifying what you want to accomplish requires also knowing when, where, and why you want to achieve it - this way, you can set up an action plan and get started on the right path. If you work towards a goal without a plan in place, you may quickly find yourself giving up when faced with an obstacle, setback or resistance. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish, and the difficulties you may face will help you be better prepared to overcome anything that might sidetrack you.
TURN IT INTO A HABIT
The best way to keep to your resolution is if you make it part of your routine or a habit. When starting off, aim to work towards your goal at the same time every day until it becomes part of your normal day. Try to never have a day where you do absolutely nothing as this can often lead to doubts and eventually giving up. For those who want to quit a particular habit, try to replace it with a healthier alternative, such as replacing your cigarette breaks with a tea break.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES
We can’t predict what’s to happen over the next year, as we all know, the past couple of years have been full of many unknowns, fears and losses. While it’s easy to let these things bring you down, it’s important for your overall well-being to focus on the positives and the things you can control. Don’t let the world get in your way or keep you from accomplishing your dreams. Keep going and ensure that, no matter what the new year brings, at least something positive will come out of it.
EVEN WHEN YOU FAIL, KEEP GOING
When aspiring for greatness it’s easy to forget that we’re only human. We make mistakes, we give in to temptation, and we need to rest. So, if you do mess up, don’t stress over it or punish yourself! Simply get back on track and keep going - after all you’ll have plenty of time in the new year to rectify any mistakes you may make. Don’t let your commitment go to waste by giving up on the first obstacle!
REMIND YOURSELF OF YOUR SUCCESS
It can be hard to maintain your motivation and dedication to making changes in your life when you can’t see the immediate results of your efforts. So, try to remind yourself of your smaller successes - those little lifestyle changes you’ve been making and maintaining that will help you to achieve your resolution - and take pride in them. After all, it takes persistence and being consistent to succeed, and fulfilling your small goals will pay off in the long run.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
Change is hard, especially when you’re alone. If you’re struggling or need some extra motivation, speak to a friend or a family member. There’s nothing like the support of a loved one to give you that extra kick you need.
Do you plan on making any resolutions in the new year?
Research shows that more than half of New Year's resolutions fail. So, be part of the minority and make and maintain a resolution to improve your life. Have fun, make changes and enjoy the New Year!