How To Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick
“New years resolutions are like babies - fun to make, difficult to maintain”
-The Irish Times, January 3 2017
After hearing about some ridiculous resolutions from friends and family this new years, I wanted to explain why these ridiculous resolutions are just not likely to succeed. More importantly, I wanted to discuss how to SUCCESSFULLY maintain that resolution you so desperately committed to a few days ago.
Top Health-Related New Year's Resolutions for 2017
Get more exercise
Get more sleep
Reconnect with nature
Reduce your caloric intake
Declutter your house or apartment
Adopt, volunteer or spend time with an animal
Keep up to date on vaccinations and health screenings
Drink adequate amounts of water
-forbes.com, December 31 2016
Change is difficult
It’s easier to continue doing what we’ve always done, but when doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Something tells me you’ve had enough of that? Read on, to see how you CAN SUCCESSFULLY make some positive changes in your life, with the right preparation and planning.
Figure out your WHY:
Why do you want to do this?
Why do you REEEAAAALLY want to do this? ….be honest with yourself
What will it do for your life?
What’s the main thing holding you back from this change?
What happens if you don’t make this change?
Who are you making this change for?
Here’s my 7 simple tips for keeping your resolution, this new years. I’d love to hear what works for you - just comment below.
Tips for keeping your resolutions
1) Baby steps
The bigger the change, the harder it is to achieve and maintain.
If you’re a night owl and haven’t exercised in a year, but your resolution is to exercise at 5.30am every week day, that’s a pretty huge change to make. Take your big idea (resolution) and break it down into baby steps, adding 1 small change each month….. It takes 4 weeks to set-up a new habit apparently!
E.g. Goal: Exercise at 5.30am every week day
This month - start exercising 3x/week, whenever it fits into your life (and yes walking counts, as long as it challenges you a little bit!)
Month 2 - Continue exercising 3x/week, but specifically shift it to the morning, even if this is the morning of your non-work days.
Month 3 - Exercise 3x/week on weekday mornings, and gradually work towards a 5.30am wake up
Month 4 - Increase to exercising every week day morning
This process of baby steps is not going to change your life in 1 week, but it WILL give you a better chance of changing your life for years to come.
2) Plan ahead (be REALISTIC) and recruit an army
When and how will you complete your resolution? I’m a sucker for being overly ambitious, so I can understand when you want to make huge changes RIGHT NOW, but be realistic…. Add just one change per month (see point 1 above!), and it’ll be easier to fit that into your current schedule
Who will be your Head Cheerleader, to keep encouraging you and focusing on the positives?
Who will be your Head Coach when life gets in the way? They will need to remind you why you started (Why did you REALLY want to do this in the first place?)
3) When you aren’t perfect, continue with your resolution anyway.
Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, but it’s what you do most often that demonstrates what you really care about. If this resolution is something your really care about, you WILL make it happen. We find time for the things most important to us.
4) Start right now……
Don’t wait for that magical 1st of the 1st, or the next Monday, or after that big birthday to get started. If this is something you plan to do for the rest of your life, there’s no time like right now to get cracking on Day 1.
5) There’s an app for that
Seriously, there probably IS an app for that. Whatever your resolution, have a quick google to see if there’s an app, watch or device that can help you be accountable. Whether it’s eating vegetables, drinking water, counting steps, or meditation, there’s plenty of apps to help you stay on track, and log your progress every single day. Make the most of the technology around us, because there’s nothing more satisfying than looking back on all the days you’ve been successful with your new change.
6) Plan rewards
None of us are above simple rewards, and here’s some easy ideas to try:
Don’t underestimate the power of gold stars on a calendar! A daily ‘reward’ to help you focus on the ‘change’ every single day, will help you make that a new habit. After 4 weeks, start on the next ‘change’ with your gold star calendar.
Buy yourself flowers at the end of each week, when you’ve successfully maintained your new habit every day. The flowers will be your reminder for the following week to stay on track
Choose a day to indulge in something you LOVE to do, but never get time to do. Have a bath, read a book, paint, sing, sleep in…..find time once a week to do this thing you love, as a reward for your hard work
7) Write it down, the old fashioned way with pen and paper
It’s hard to argue with black and white. Go and get a nice clean piece of blank white paper, and start writing……
What is your end goal?….... think big picture e.g. enjoy a happy and healthy, energised life
Break that down into baby steps - See point 1) - HOW are you going to do that? e.g. drink 2 litres of water per day, walk 10,000 steps per day, meditate for 5 minutes every day, do yoga on Sundays, go to bed by 9pm every night
Add dates - what date are you going to start each part of that ‘HOW’. Pick 1 change and put todays date next to it. Allocate 1 month of this year to each item, s