Making resolutions (whether that be on 1st January or any other day of the year) helps us to see change, to move forward, and to work towards a building a better life for ourselves…which, I think you’ll agree, has to be a good thing!
Maybe you want to get fitter or eat a more varied diet. Perhaps you’d like to lose some weight or get more sleep. You might want to reduce your alcohol consumption (dry January anyone?) and sort out your work-life balance…the list could go on!
In fact, it can be easy to fall into the trap of planning to completely overhaul your life.
But there’s a problem with having lots of New Year Resolutions. If you have lots of different resolutions then the reality is that you are unlikely to achieve all (or possibly any) of them, and certainly not if you try to tackle them all in one go.
And that can be really demotivating.
Research shows that approximately 80% of people give up on their resolutions by the start of February! And the same research suggests that trying to make too many changes at the same time is one of the main reasons for that.
Even more important than deciding WHAT you want to change, is thinking about WHY you want to change.
Do you want to be able to run further or faster?
Do you want to more energy to play with your children?
Do you want to change the shape of your body?
Do you want to get stronger?
Do you want to sleep better?
Do you want to feel amazing on your next holiday?
What is YOUR why?
What is it that really motivates YOU?
We all have times when we struggle to stick to a plan. But when times get tough, and we feel like giving up it helps to remember WHY we’ve set out to make those changes in the first place.
So, before you think about WHAT you want to change this year, I want you to think about WHY you want to change?
Stop reading this blog for 5 minutes (yes, I mean it!) and then write it (or them) down. Because by writing down your why(s) you start to make yourself accountable.
If you feel you need extra accountability think about sharing your why(s) with someone you trust. It has been scientifically proven that when you share your goal with someone you’re much more likely to achieve it!
Now that you know your why(s) let’s think about all those New Year Resolutions that you started with.
How can you work towards ALL of your goals AND achieve them all?
Ever heard of the Hare and Tortoise?
I want you to analyse your list of resolutions and pick ONE to start with; the one you feel is a priority over the others, the one that you feel would be the easiest to tackle, or the one that just feels right for here and now.
Pick one and only one!
And when deciding on THE one, think back to your why(s). Without a ‘why’ you have little or no motivation to change, so make sure the resolution you choose is linked to your ‘why(s)’.
Let’s take dietary change as an example. You may decide that you want to
1) drink more water
2) eat more fruit and vegetables
3) reduce your consumption of crisps, biscuits, cakes etc.
4) reduce your alcohol consumption
5) eat more protein
6) eat at least 3 vegetarian meals per week
7) reduce your consumption of starchy carbohydrates
…you get the picture!
If you were to try to change all of these habits at the same time, do you honestly think you could?
And, more importantly, do you think these changes will still be in place in 3, 6 or 12 months’ time?
If you are being honest with yourself, I think your answer to the last 2 questions would be “no”.
You have made too many changes at once and your body and brain are going to find that extremely challenging, so let’s make it easier for your body and brain to deal with (and achieve) change…
A better way to approach your list of goals is to pick 1 or 2 to change now, and once you are confident that these 1 or 2 changes are now new habits (in other words, you don’t really have to think about them, they just happen) then you can move on, and make another 1 or 2 changes…and so it goes on.
It might take you 2-3 weeks (or more) to change each habit, but by making small changes you are far more likely to succeed, you are far more likely to stick with them in the long term, and you are far more likely to feel confident about making (and achieving) the next 1 or 2 changes.
Remember, motivation will get you started but it’s habits that will keep you going…and, as habits can take many weeks (or even months) to change, you need to be consistent and patient, and take those small steps; you need to be the Tortoise!
Just because you are not making all of your desired changes straight away doesn’t mean they won’t come in time – after all, if you choose to make your resolution(s) on 1st January, you have the whole year to fulfil them!
If your resolutions relate to fitness or nutrition and you would like any guidance, support or coaching in achieving your goals please feel free to drop me a message we can chat and suss out if any of my services are a good fit for you.
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