You were storming ahead with your New Year’s resolution two weeks ago. You’d been super healthy, hadn’t touched alcohol, were determined you would get fit and lose weight.
You’d come home early each night to spend time with your family…but now that the year is in full swing, your motivation is wearing off and you’re starting to slip back into your old habits.
A New Year’s resolution is a great chance for you to make some positive change in your life. Whether you opt to quit a bad habit or adopt a good new one, sticking to your resolution can improve your lifestyle, health and happiness. But how do you keep them?
If you want to “lose weight”, “get fit” or “travel more” for example, you’re unlikely to stick to your goals. Why? They’re very vague and hard to measure. You’re better off deciding to run your first 10k race, promising to go to gym twice a week, or resolving to visit at least one new place this year, for example. Don’t go overboard and aim to go from couch potato to marathon runner in the next six months, because the inevitable result is that you’ll feel disappointed when you don’t reach your goal, and you’ll be more likely to quit altogether.
Your willpower is not endless. If you decide to quit smoking and alcohol, improve your fitness and read a book a week, something (or everything) will give. Stick to one clear resolution and once it becomes habit, you can implement a new one. It’s true that willpower is like a muscle and gets stronger the more you use it, but everyone has seen what happens when you over stress muscles and push too hard – they break down and you get injured.
By sharing your intention with family and friends, you begin to hold yourself accountable. You’re less likely to give up, mostly because you don’t want to face admitting it to your friends! However, telling people about your resolution also makes it more likely to stick because they can support you when things get tough. Even having people be aware of your situation makes things easier. Friends who know you’re trying to lose weight, for example, will motivate you and definitely not offer you a slice of cake when you’re feeling down!
Some of us are guilty of applying an all or nothing mentality to everything in our lives. Either you only eat salad for a day or you eat every chocolate and chip you can get your hands on, finishing off with a McDonalds meal. Or maybe you have a great workout session but if you skip a day you quit for the rest of the week.
While this mentality might work for a select few things, it certainly isn’t the way to keep your resolutions for longer than a month. In the case of resolutions, something is almost always better than nothing. Some effort towards your goal beats none – so if you only have fifteen minutes at the gym instead of half an hour, then make the best of them. If you blow your diet with a cheat, then just pick it right back up at the next meal. After all, two healthy meals in a day is better than none. It’s about progress, not perfection.