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How to make New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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Photo by Malte Lu on Pexels.com

The New Year is upon us.  Many people see this as a time for a fresh start, as a time to do things differently than the year before.  Whatever happened the year before is done and gone and this is the fresh page of a new chapter.  Some people see resolutions as bad, but why?  Humans are always changing, always evolving.  It’s ok to recognize faults or things we aren’t happy with and try to work on them to improve how we feel about ourselves.

It has also been said that over 80% of people will not stick to their New Year’s plan by February.  FEBRUARY!  That’s one month off to a great start and then nothing. Nada.  These people start out the year well- with the right intentions and probably the right mindset, but old habits die hard.  Life happens.  And the New Year’s resolutions are gone.  I’ve even heard that some people have the same resolution every year, or close to.

You probably know those people- maybe they are you?  Maybe the resolution is to workout more.  A gym membership is bought (usually for a cheap price), swearing to those around you this will be different… there are often a lot of visits in the first week or two, but the visits consist of walking in-maybe doing some cardio-maybe doing some weights, knowing the difference between the “regulars” and those there for their resolutions.  Maybe it’s even a little intimidating.  The results aren’t there that you would have hoped for.  Excuses start to take creep in.  And now there’s this gym membership being paid for, but not being used.

Let’s make 2019 different.  Create a plan now to make 2019 the year that you stick to your New Year’s Plan.  Maybe it’s eating healthier, working out more, more self-care, deeper dive into your spirituality, more time unplugged.  Whatever the resolution, there are definitely steps that can be taken to lead to continual success instead of starting strong, crashing and burning.

Let’s be one of 20%. It’s not hard, but it will require work (if it was easy, there wouldn’t be an 80% failure rate, right?)

  • WRITE OUT THE GOAL.  I know this is nothing new, but seriously- write it out.  If your goal is to be unplugged- then write down how often you are going to allow yourself screen time each day.  If you want to lose weight- write down how much and by when and how are you going to do it.  (it is safe to lose 1-2lbs a week).  Maybe you have a big goal- and if you do, then break it down into small goals (more on that later).  Write them down where you can see them every day (even post its on your bathroom mirror).
  • START SMALL.  Small steps that you can work on regularly integrating into your life will result in higher success rates than starting out doing too much, too fast.  Doing too much, too fast will cause disruption in the life you are used it.  It will shock your body and will result in easier burn out.  Depending upon what your resolution is, it can also result in injury as your body isn’t prepared to withstand the quick changes you are throwing at it and it just can’t keep up.  Start with a couple days a week and after you are successful with that for a couple weeks, then up it to 3 days a week.  Then 4, etc.
  • SMALL GOALS WITH REGULAR CHECKINS.  Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon in 2019.  Or maybe you’re not a runner at all, but your goal is to run a 5K.  If you’ve never ran a 5K or a marathon before, don’t start out the gate expecting that’s going to happen right away.  For the 5K- start with an easy run training program like FIT4MOM’s 5K training.  Make the goal that you are going to run a mile without walking by a certain date.  When that happens- celebrate. Then make it 2 miles.  Celebrate.  For the marathon- find a marathon later in the year.  Sign up for a 5K first, then a 10K, then maybe even a half marathon before you tackle the marathon.  And again- celebrate the success.  Run the 5K and celebrate.
  • CELEBRATIONS.  This needs to be it’s own step.  Most of the population has a higher extrinsic motivation than intrinsic motivation.  That means, we feel more success and accomplishment with external factors than internal.  Rewards vs. the sense of “feeling better” or “feeling accomplished”.   As a workout plan gains success and longevity, that is when intrinsic motivation usually will take over.  Until then, set up small celebrations for success.  Ideas for celebrations include a meal at a favorite restaurant, some new workout gear, a coffee date with a friend (and have that friend help with your accountability…more on that next), time by yourself, taking time to watch your favorite show or movie.  Maybe even make yourself a sticker chart, and after “x” amount of stickers (sticking to your goal) then have a celebration.  Have the sticker chart visible and the act of placing a sticker on the chart is sometimes celebration enough because it gives a sense of accomplishment.  Add your written goal (see above) to your sticker chart.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY.  Find a friend, spouse, coworker, group, or coach that wants you to be successful, maybe even shares your goals, and use them as your accountability partner.  (or a combination of a couple of those) Maybe you need a coach that is being paid to hold you accountable.  Maybe a small group that is going to be expecting you to show up?  Maybe it’s just a friend that shares your goals and you are going to hold each other accountable.  Humans generally want to make other humans happy (not always the case).  But they want to make other humans happy that they respect.  If you respect someone and you know they are watching out for you, chances are you going to do what you need to do to make them happy.  Your success is their happiness.  (Check out the “Accountability” Blog for more).

5 steps to success.  Be the 20% this year.  Don’t let your goals, your resolutions go to the wayside and have them appear on our 2020 resolution list.  This year can be different.  This year will be different.  This year is the year of YOU- you have your resolution because you want things to be different, whether they are big or small.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

Cheers to 2019- let’s do this.

 

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