In this post, I want to discuss how to set realistic new year’s resolutions, why new year’s resolutions do not work for everyone, how to set yourself realistic goals and how to guarantee that you will smash them.
The new year is a time of resolutions and goal setting…
This is the time of year where most people will take on the personal and sometimes peer pressured challenges that we commonly call new year’s resolutions.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with setting personal challenges and with the correct use of SMART objectives they can be a motivational tool that leads to all the good things that you want out of life.
There is nothing wrong with setting personal challenges and with the correct use of SMART objectives they can be a motivational tool that leads to all the good things that you want out of life.. Click To Tweet
If you want to get more in-depth on how to implement change. I will be writing a post on applying SMART objectives soon and a link will be here shortly.
The problem is that a lot of people will say “This year I’ll lose weight” or ”This year I will go to the gym” with no real sense of purpose or drive behind these statements.
We all know the drill… After the first few days or weeks the sparkle of the “new you” will have worn off and the “old you” will be back in the armchair, eating, drinking and watching reality TV.
Reality check… New Year’s resolutions do not work for everyone!
It’s the mindset that counts…
The mindset is dictated by willpower, and willpower is finite. If you don’t manage your willpower it will deplete leaving you in a slump, feeling demotivated and soon returning to your own old ways of thinking.
I am prone to this myself if I do not set my expectations correctly so I would like to share with you why new year’s resolutions do not work and what to do instead.
According to an article in Psychology today the reason new year’s resolutions do not work is that they are way too big and bold to be established easily as a new habit.
What may look like a small goal on paper can become a scary behemoth of a challenge once you start thinking about implementing it.
So how do you overcome the dread and fear that you may associate with your new year’s resolution or goal?
Think in terms of small manageable changes.
- 1 It must attach to an existing established habit or action
- 2 It must be easy so that you will act on the new habit every day for the first week.
- 3 It must be a small action
Ok so how to break these down…
- Your resolution must be small or at least manageable.
As an example, to “lose weight” is not a small action and it is also incredibly general.
This is a statement that has lots of requirements in the background.
For example, you might need to join a gym and if so, which one?
You might need to start doing some type of cardio, but what do you do?
These are all decisions that will make your task seem massive compared to the simple statement of “lose weight”
Instead, try “I want to lose say 14lb and I will do this by losing 0.5 – 1lb per week until I have reached my goal”
If you want to add a bit more to this you could try adding “and I will join a gym to help me with this”.
- It must attach to an existing established habit or action.
The question you need to ask here is, what do I already do that I can make work to my advantage.
Do you catch the bus to work?
Then the tried and tested “Get off a stop or two earlier and walk into work” may be a good starting place.
Ideally, you will select a gym or type of exercise that you can link to either your journey into work or on your journey home.
Unless you’re trying to be a bodybuilder, you can get a great fat burning workout done in as little as 20 min.
I have linked below to 3 of my other posts that should prove useful for getting the best workout in the shortest time.
What is HIIT, 7 Basic Exercises to try, 3 of the best HIIT workouts to try
- It must be easy so that you will action the new habit every day for at least the first week.
Ok, so let us say you have joined your gym and need to get into the habit of going.
Well, there is no point in going for a gut-busting session on your first outing as this will not only de-motivate you but probably leave you with an aversion to working out along with an injury or two.
Instead, try going into the gym for 20 min every morning or at least Monday, Wed, Friday for a week or two and get into the habit of going.
You only need to do something easy to get moving.
15 min easy jog on a treadmill for example before having a nice shower and heading off.
You will be surp
rised how quickly you begin to associate the journey into work or the journey home with a stop off at the gym.
Trust me, this doesn’t sound like much but it works!
So what is your take on New year’s resolutions Versus small manageable change?
Do new year’s resolutions work for you or have you been looking for a new way to implement change in your life?
Remember that new year’s resolutions are not limited to the new year and the 3 stages outlined here will work for whatever you chose to do.
If you have any experiences of your own to share I would love to hear from you in the comments below and you can get a notification of all the latest content by signing up to our newsletter.
Until next time…
I wish you good health and happiness.