How to Make Resolutions that Stick
Here we are, less than 50 days into the New Year and already those big ambitions for a “New Year, New You!” are quickly diminishing. The pledge to work out every day, quit drinking alcohol during the week and to get 8 hours sleep every night lasted all of about 2 weeks before life got the better of you. You’re wondering whether anyone else is still sticking to their New Year’s resolutions and how anyone could possibly juggle a full time job, family and rock a killer set of 6-pack abs. Surely these people aren’t human? Or they don’t eat or they have a staff of people helping them with everything!
Well don’t give up on your grand plans for radical transformation just yet. With a few tips and tricks, your resolutions may actually stand a chance this year and those 6-pack abs might make an appearance too!
So how can you make sure your new year’s resolutions are a success? How can you learn to set realistic goals and reach these goals throughout the year? Here’s 4 principles we stand by when it comes to setting ourselves or our clients any kind of goal or commitment.
1. Start Small
When the New Year rolls around, many of us want to make some major changes in our lives. However, we often bite off more than we can chew.
For example, if you’re New Year’s resolution is weight loss, your first thought may be to get a gym membership and go to the gym every day. While this enthusiasm is a good start, it’s not a realistic way to achieve your goal.
It’s always best to start small when you’re planning to make a lifestyle change. So instead of going to the gym every day, try going 2 to 3 times a week instead. Once you get into the routine of going twice a week, you can slowly increase how often you workout.
Additionally, if your goal is to eat healthier, start small. Try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.
2. One Change At A Time
Many people see New Year’s as a way to completely change everything in their life for the better. However, it’s important to keep in mind that change takes time. By giving yourself a long list of life changes to make, you can end up becoming overwhelmed and feel like giving up before you even get started.
Changing too much all at once will invariably be challenging, if not impossible, to stick to. So don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time. Are you looking to improve your health? Quitting smoking, starting a diet and signing up for a gym membership all at the same time might seem like a good idea but we’d caution against it. Instead, just start with exercise.
The more you train, the less likely you are to smoke (because now you’re spending some of your time exercising) and also the less likely you’ll be to want to smoke – because breathing after smoking a pack a day isn’t easy! Slowly but surely the fitter you become the more likely you are to diminish the amount you smoke throughout the day. Once you’re at a point where you feel confident that you can comfortably quit smoking, then make that your focus. By this time, your exercise routine should be so well-established that it will be easy for you to keep it up, even when you switch your attention and energy to giving up smoking.
3. Receive Support
When making changes to your life, having a support network is crucial. If you feel your resolutions are starting to fail, reach out to a friend for support.
Let them know some ways they can help you if they see you are falling off the wagon. Additionally, if you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help.
Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable. So don’t try and start your New Year’s resolutions alone, make sure you have a support group to back you up.
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
One of the most important tips to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you start to falter. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. We are human beings, not machines!
In fact, these missteps can help you learn and adjust your goals so that they become even more attainable.
Don’t give up completely because you had a glass of wine and its only Wednesday, or you skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
The Key Takeaway
All in all, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep because people put too much pressure on themselves to change everything all at once. The mentality “go big or go home” should not apply when trying to implement sustainable lifestyle changes. Unfortunately you can’t just amazon prime your way to your new you, but don’t worry because no one else can either! By adjusting your goals and taking things slow, you have a much higher chance of keeping your resolutions and achieving the transformative results you’re looking for in due time. For more help with goal setting, check out our article The Golden Rules to Great Goal Setting.