Make New Year's Resolutions That Stick
So you know you want to make some big changes this year but you're fed up with making resolutions that don't stick?
You're not alone; there's a reason why gyms are full of people at the start of the year and by mid-February the crowds have already begun to thin out. Don't be one of them! Here are a few tips to help you set New Year's resolutions with a difference.
Focus on habits
The problem with so many New Year's resolutions is that they're big and entirely about the end result. We focus on how we will feel when we're already there and with good intentions go all guns blazing in our initial efforts to do make it happen, but that can easily lead to early burn out or inadequate planning.
What really gets us to those lofty goals is daily habits; the journey on the way to that end result. These habits may not seem glamorous, they may even be boring, but over time small habit changes can lead to big things.
Create mini goals
Break your goal down into small and easily manageable tasks you can do on a daily basis consistently. If what you're doing feels very difficult to integrate into your existing life or isn't enjoyable, those are key warning signs that it won't last.
For example, say you have a weight loss goal. In response to this people might join a gym or bootcamp programme. If there is no plan created around your attendance to gym sessions, winging it and just going whenever you feel like it will probably lead to you initially hitting the gym frequently in the start but reducing sessions when your energy runs out, a big event happens or the busy-ness of everyday life gets in the way.
- How could you get moving every day in some way?
- Figure out how many days are your bare minimum that you would like to attend for the money you're paying and make that many sessions non-negotiable in your week. Three sessions a week is typically a good goal to get results and stay away from burnout.
- Create a weekly plan for your purposeful exercise sessions and on the other days go for a leisure walk, do something active around the house like cleaning or gardening, or do some stretching. Getting active in some way every day will help towards your overeall goal as a successful new habit is formed through consistent repetition. You don't have to go full tilt every day; keep up the habit of moving your body, go harder when your energy levels and recovery plan allow for it, drop things back when you need to rest.
If a bootcamp programme lasts six weeks, you're likely to get some great results going so frequently in a concentrated period of time, but if you have no plan for following through beyond that, life is likely to return to normal shortly afterwards (and any progress made towards your goals may halt or go backwards).
What will you do after the programme ends? Will you keep doing those exercises? How often? Do you need help or can you do it on your own? These are the things you need to plan for.
Make the pathway towards your goal foolproof and remember that taking even the smallest of steps towards your goals each day means you're more likely to get there and stay there.
So what should I do?
Set your goals and make them good ones. What is it that you want to do? What have you been doing up until now? What do you need to do to bridge that gap?
You may have already know about using the acronym SMART to set your goals.
Are you being as clear as possible? ‘Get fitter’ isn’t specific, ‘Do a full pushup’ is!
How will you track your progress? If not, you’re going to struggle to know whether you’re achieving it.
Do you have the ability, skill or discipline to achieve your goals? 6-pack abs seems like a great goal but some people genetically can’t achieve them.
How will your goals fit in with your life? Do you have the time and energy required to put into achieving them? If not you may need to modify your expectations.
Give yourself a timeline. This will mean you’ll regularly review your goals and can modify them if need be.
Keep on tracking
Goals change and progress can vary, it's a good idea to check in and revise your plan to make sure the goal you've been working towards is still what you want and that you're making the right habit changes to get you there.
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