However, the chances are that you’ve already broken a few of your resolutions or you are finding it difficult to carry on. But you’re not alone. It’s estimated that only 12% of those who made a New Year’s resolution will taste the sweet taste of success, but why?
Where are we going wrong and how can we learn to be successful?
Making too many changes at once
So many of us, myself included, approach January expecting our whole lives to change overnight. I cut out junk food, I give up alcohol, everything is home cooked and I use a FitBit to encourage me to walk for miles every day. This is on top of a full time job and all the other day to day activities that I usually undertake. As a result, by Quitters Day, I am exhausted and miserable. On reflection, it appears like too many changes at once doesn’t help when attempting to stick to a New Year’s resolution. For better success, throwing the crash diets and fitness plans in the bin and opting for one small change a week can help to increase your chances of living healthier and sticking to long term lifestyle changes. For example, start one week by giving up that chocolate bar after lunch and swapping it with fruit. The next week aiming to drink 2 litres of water per day too and on week three, enjoy a nice walk with the family three times a week. These changes are smaller, but they offer a better chance of success than a very large lifestyle change.
Ask your friends and family for support
One of the pitfalls I faced last year was that I wanted to make changes, but my partner was perfectly happy with our lifestyle.Therefore, I found preparing healthier meals and instigating family walks quite difficult because it wasn’t something that he wanted to do. I respected his decision, but in cases such as these you may need to think outside of the box. If you work with friends who share the same goals, try getting together and supporting each other at work. It may be that you use your lunch break to enjoy a walk together, or simply enjoy talking about your goals and sharing tips. In terms of meal times, it may help to batch cook healthy meals for yourself and freeze them. That way, there is less pressure to eat the same meals as the family. If you are trying to reduce your alcohol intake, using distraction techniques and keeping busy can help you to avoid reaching for something to drink.
Lack of self-belief
Because you’ve failed in the past, or have been setting unrealistic goals, it is easy to think that you won’t be able to carry on with your changes. However, when you make smaller changes and start to see the results, it will be much easier to believe that you are capable of carrying on with your resolutions. If you have a bad day and fail to stick to your resolve, it doesn’t mean failure. Simply brush yourself off and carry on with your changes the next day.
You aren’t enjoying your new lifestyle
Huge lifestyle changes have a big impact on the way that we live our lives. However, the key to successfully sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions is to minimise any kind of stress. For example, if you’re spending hours cooking elaborate healthy meals and finding it stressful, the chances of you sticking to the task is very low. If you’re waking up really early and going for a run but spending the rest of the day too tired to do anything else, that isn’t going to work either. Why not put together a plan which causes the least amount of stress, such as spending a one morning a fortnight batch cooking meals that can go in the freezer or joining a fun gym class with friends. Look for healthy recipes on apps such as Pinterest and start meal prepping to help you create tasty and hassle free lunches for work too.
You aren’t tracking your progress
For best results, write down your goals and clarify exactly what your hoping to achieve and track your progress. If you are cutting down on alcohol, the Dry January app works throughout the year to track the money you save, the calories you haven’t drank and charts the benefits to your health. This in turn, can help to motivate you to continue with your goals. Tracking your progress also helps to assess the reasons why you struggle to stick to your resolutions on certain days too. For example, eating more junk food after a night out with friends or being too tired to go for a walk after a busy day with the family. By looking at the impact of the issues you may have faced, this can help you to come up with solutions to combat these.
You aren’t rewarding yourself
Making a changes is hard, but sometimes they are necessary for health reasons or simply to get the best out of life. However, quite often we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the changes that we are making, and this may affect our enjoyment of the process. For example, if you’re giving up something that you enjoy such as chocolate, your mind automatically believes that you are punishing yourself. However, setting a reward helps to retrain your brain into understanding that you are not being deprived, but working towards something enjoyable. This could be as simple as putting the money you save into a jar and saving up for a weekend break, or a day trip with your family. By re-thinking your strategy, this can help you to reach your achievements and stick to them.