In this piece, we want to help you to figure out how to make better new year’s resolutions that you actually stick to. Make 2021 the year that you finally get those habits into gear and find the new you you’re looking for!
Why are resolutions so hard to stick to?
There are lots of reasons why we find it tough to stick to our good intentions. These include:
Your resolution isn’t specific enough 🤷♀️
Being too vague or all-encompassing with your goal makes it really tough to follow through. For instance, saying you want to “exercise more” or “lose weight” is a good way to set yourself up for failure. Why? You haven’t got any good way to measure progress.
Make your goal specific. Choose a distance you want to run, or a route you want to take, or aiming to eat a healthy meal a certain number of times, etc. Make it a clear and actionable number that you can keep track of.
Your resolution doesn’t sound positive 🙅♂️
Using negative language is another way you limit your own actions. For instance, if you want to “stop eating junk food”, this often backfires because you’re thinking about the exact thing you’re trying to avoid.
Try using positive language instead. For instance, you might say, “Eat these healthy snacks instead.” And have those healthy snacks prepared and ready to go!
Your resolution doesn’t reflect what you actually want 💔
Dieting and exercise trends are really common for New Year. But what do you actually want from your year? What would really make an impact?
Generic statements about exercise, for instance, may not really connect with your actual hopes or desires for yourself. Don’t think about what others are doing – take the time to reflect and get to the heart of what you want for yourself 💓.
How can I make better resolutions?
Think of it as a habit, not a goal
If you’re treating a marathon like a sprint 🏃♂️, it’s really hard to make effective, long-term change. The term ‘goal’ suggests you do it once and you’re done – but is that really an effective achievement of your resolution for your life?
Habit changes are way more powerful than one-off or short-term changes. If it’s impact that you’re after, consider how you can make steady changes to your daily actions and repeat it. Once something is a habit, it’s far easier to keep doing it!
Start small and steady
You’re not going to be able to change your whole life overnight. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, so starting small but consistently is really vital to seeing your new habit through.
You can change a lot of habits by starting small, using things that take less than 10 mins a day. For instance, you might want to start drinking more water 💧, stretching, or reading. Check out Duolingo for languages, find 10-minute meditations, or spend 10 minutes a day writing that book 📚 you’ve always wanted to write. You can literally just start with 10 minutes. Consistency is the real key.
Keep track of your progress
Give yourself a chance to check off your achievements and keep track of your progress over time. All you need is a notebook and pen, or a calendar you can mark. You might use stickers or checkboxes, or anything that really gives the satisfaction of having crossed off another step on the journey ✅. By keeping track, you can always improve on your progress and you can also see how far you’ve come and celebrate your hard work!
Make sure to start doing, not just thinking
We can get really lost in planning and thinking about the changes we want to make, and suddenly enough time passes that… nothing has actually changed! 🤔
Take just one small step forward – and it doesn’t have to be the perfect action right away! Maybe your goal is to run 5K. Of course, if you’ve never gone running before, you’re unlikely to achieve this on day one. Maybe you set the goal of starting with 10 minutes and increasing gradually. But if you get out there and find you can only do 8 minutes, don’t see that as a failure. You succeeded just by going out and getting started. Have some self-compassion and choose action over perfection.
Enjoy the process
It shouldn’t all be miserable! Find ways to insert fun 🎉 or enjoyment into your new resolution. You might exercise with a friend or family member, you might have a buddy who checks in 📞, you might reward yourself with some chill out time in front of the TV – anything that feels like a real prize for your efforts. Whatever it might be, find a way that helps turn your new habit into more than just a chore.
With opportunities to enjoy yourself in the mix, you’ll be way more inclined to stick to your resolution (and you might even find that you start to enjoy things you previously never cared for, like exercise!). There’s no better way to self-motivate than to find the joy in the activity.
Get stuck into your resolutions the right way this year! For advice on how you can make practical changes about your health and start living the lifestyle you want to be living, give us a call and we can help get you started on a new track.