Encouraging Tips to Realize your New Years Resolutions
Making the most of your New Year’s resolutions
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and at the same time, arguably the most daunting. A clear reminder that another 52 weeks went by, New Year prompts many people to create lists of resolutions longer than their holiday shopping lists. Lose weight, sign up for a yoga school membership, catch up with friends more often, give up tobacco, quit sugar…these are just some of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Yet, not many commitments make it past February, and the old habits kick in along with guilt and disappointment. Another year goes by, and the story repeats.
Sounds familiar? Time to break the cycle! Today, we have prepared a list of tips and tricks to make your New Year’s resolutions stick. Before we dive in, however, here is something you need to acknowledge before shaping your resolutions: New Year isn’t actually some magical time for drastic character changes. However, it is a good time point to assess last year’s decisions and make positive changes.
Now that the magic is toned down, it’s time to get real and try some effective strategies, making the most of your New Year’s resolutions!
DO: set small, attainable goals
One of the most effective strategies for making resolutions you can keep is setting small, attainable goals. For example, if you haven’t set your foot into a gym for the last 5 years, it’s unreasonable to believe you will be able to keep up with 6 weekly sessions of 60 minutes. By trying to change your lifestyle so drastically, you are far more likely to injure yourself or burn out and lose interest. So, how about 3 times a week, 30 minutes at a time – plus maybe long walks on days off? If you do more than that sometimes – great, otherwise just keep with the realistic baseline goal and reap the long- term benefits all year round.
DON’T: Change multiple behaviors at one time
Breaking behaviors requires more time and effort than developing them, and by attempting to tweak multiple things at once, you’re very likely to get overwhelmed and give up. For instance, if you know your diet could be healthier, don’t try to quit sugary snacks and give up fast food completely and stop snacking after dinner. Instead, pick one undesired behavior and gradually replace it with a healthy habit, and then move on to the next one.
DO: share your experiences with others
Whether it’s sharing your progress with family and friends, posting about it on social media or committing to a workout class, if other people know about your journey, you are far more likely to succeed. Support and cheering make even the most difficult goals less intimidating, and the road to them – more exciting!
DON’T: beat yourself up for slipping
Contrary to popular saying, practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes better. Perfection is simply unattainable and acknowledging that will take lots of weight off your shoulders. Had a juicy burger for lunch that contains two times more your daily calorie allowance? Not ideal, for sure…but not as dramatic as you might think. Just enjoy the indulgence – and get right back on track, without any silly compensatory behaviors such as 3 hours on a treadmill. Everyone has ups and downs, and it’s perfectly normal.
DO: seek help if required
Sometimes, making a resolution is necessary - but sticking to it can be incredibly stressful. If at any point of your journey you feel helpless or overwhelmed, consider seeking professional help. For instance, seeing a psychologist can be incredibly beneficial for understanding the intricacies of mind- body connection. If you’re struggling with weight management goals, seeing a qualified dietitian can help develop a healthy, joyful relationship with food. For those working on building an exercise regime, a personal trainer can offer their experience and support. Whilst getting professional help may seem costly, oftentimes it provides a shortcut to achieving your goals and beyond, making it worth it in the end.
DON’T: call it a New Year’s resolution
This may seem counterintuitive but hear us out: while it’s convenient to set goals around New Year, try not perceiving those as New Year’s resolutions. Instead, just use it as a starting point for creating a new habit – and then keep working on it, without the “Big Resolution Pressure”. If you get completely overwhelmed by the annual resolution craze, escape it altogether by setting a completely different date for starting your journey.
DO: pick up a pen
Numerous studies clearly demonstrate that writing your goals and dreams down leads to increased success rates. Writing something down makes it incredibly “real”, and a piece of paper instantly becomes your accountability buddy. It doesn’t cancel out the rest of the tips though – keep your goals humble and attainable, and jot down a clear path to support them. Pro tip: these days, you can even buy dedicated goal diaries, that also make excellent New Year gifts – along with a link to this article, of course.
Statistics look rather grim – less than 10% of individuals typically keep their New Year’s resolutions, and the rest fail miserably only to start the cycle again next year. Obstacles and setbacks are to be expected, so if you slip up just remember that tomorrow is a new day to start again. Set attainable goals, break them into even smaller benchmarks and share your progress to stay accountable.
Remind yourself that you are worth it, and you will crush your goals in 2019, guaranteed.