Updated: May 24, 2019
By now your News Feed is probably inundated with people’s statuses proclaiming they have eaten the world over Christmas and are starting a diet, a new fitness regime, they’re going to quit smoking, etc… as of Jan 1st.
You may also have seen the opposite from people saying resolutions don’t work and you shouldn’t set them, you’re only going to fail in a couple of weeks anyway… this may be true but I like them, I feel like it’s the same as that irrational need to have the volume on a multiple of 5 or an even number. There is some psychology to it, I’m not going to go into it but basically, we’re scared of odd numbers 🤷. And at least in my mind, a new month, a new week, a new year is like an even number, it’s easy to compute, it is clear cut and if anyone was to ask you how long you’d been doing XYZ you can definitively say 4 months, 3 weeks, 5 days… If you’d started midway through March on a Tuesday this is far harder to calculate, and our brains just don’t like this. Not that any of that matters, but it’s good to know!
“But 80% of “New Year’s resolutions” fail…” yes, they do, but the people who fail these also aren’t succeeding at implementing change at any other time of the year either so that says more about them than the resolution.
You can call them Intentions if you prefer, which personally I do. The practice of setting intentions is more familiar to me as it’s something I do more often, at the start of a yoga class, before meditation, weekly or monthly intentions. So just by shifting the language we use it can have an impact on how we move forward.
The problem when you start something drastic after a month of constant eating and drink is that you’re essentially going cold turkey, your body is in shock, you’re feeling lethargic and tired. Everything you do over the next week will be in a state of deficit, aside from maybe calories, chances are you’re probably lacking in key nutrients, sleep, exercise… all things that will make you feel like shit and have a knock-on effect that will live long pass January 1st.
My guess is you’re probably feeling one of two ways right now, either super motivated and ready to start something new or most likely you’re looking forward to the New Year so you can stop living in a perpetual cycle of eat, drink, sleep, repeat…
Whatever your motivation going into the New Year chances are it’s not going to be enough to make any real changes stick.
This is why I wanted to put this out there, to help you make resolutions that will stick.
Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions (there I go with multiples of 5 again)
Eat more healthily
Be more active
Learn a new skill
Source: ComRes Poll 2017
I’m surprised stop smoking isn’t on there but maybe that’s a good thing, hopefully it means there are less people smoking already.
As I said before, if it helps, think of this as a practice in setting New Year’s Intentions. Think of the lifestyle you want to lead and then break that down into smaller actions that will ultimately lead this to becoming reality. These don’t have to be huge changes, but be honest with yourself, if your current lifestyle is far from your ideal, now is the time to take those first steps, and then the rest will come after.
Step 1. Identify WHY you want to make this change in your life
Give it an emotional attachment, write it down and follow it along, how could it lead to further changes in your life? Try to think of the positives as much as you can going forwards, however if it helps to initially give you the kick you need, write down the negative impact it has had or could have if you don’t implement this change soon.
Internal dialogue is powerful so even if you want to stop doing something negative try to switch up your language, so you rephrase it in a positive way. Focus on doing more of something instead of less/stop. For example, if you a looking to change up your diet you should focus on “eating more nutritious food” as oppose to “stop eating unhealthy food”.
Step 2. Use this initial burst of motivation to put a plan into place
I am speaking from my own personal view here (and projecting this onto everyone…) We like order, we like even numbers, and we like easy to follow instructions. And that is what a plan is, a list of instructions that you can follow to achieve a desired outcome.
This plan needs to be detailed, remember you are looking toachieve a goal, it does not all need to happen overnight! So, try to create a schedule you will stick to, if you are wanting to exercise more add sessions to your calendar, if you’re training by yourself make sure you have a training plan so you know exactly what you are going to be doing and when.
Which brings me to my second point, make yourself accountable to someone else, ideally a professional, whether that’s a personal trainer, a life coach, or join a support group or community based club.
And then put a timeline into place, mini targets you can work toward to keep yourself on track and progressing.
I’ll call this next part Step 2.b and this is potentially the most important step; predict what could be your downfall, what could stop you sticking to your plan and reaching your goals? Now you know these how will you overcome them? Again, accountability here is a big help!