So you’re thinking about making New Year Resolutions…. not because you buy into the “New Year New You” philosophy, but because you genuinely want to develop or strengthen a few of health habits and/or behaviours.
When it comes to New year Resolutions, theres some good, and not-so-good news. The not-so-good news is that around 80% of resolutions will fail, and most people lose their resolve by mid-February. Which kinda makes it clear, that the typical approach hasn’t been working for us. Perhaps we’re a little ambitious and choose unrealistic goals, or perhaps we don’t have the much needed support in place necessary to change our behaviours?
The good news is, setting yourself up for success is possible with some nifty science-backed strategies! Check these out.
1. Know Your Why
For a resolution to stick, it has to matter to you. When your resolutions connect to a deeper purpose, all those obstacles that stand in your way (ie. lack of time, inconvenience, distraction) will be less likely to knock you off course. The clearer we are about why we’re committing to our resolutions, the higher the chances we will succeed.
Perhaps you are a beautiful friend or partner and your why centres around spending more time being active and tech free in the presence of your nearest and dearest. Maybe you’re an unstoppable Mumma and your why is to be a good role model for, or to get active more often with, your kids. Or, perhaps you are a fearless Boss Babe who’s why is linked to chasing big dreams of yours!
Keep your reasons front of mind, or write them down and keep them in view!
2. Enlist Support
Research has shown that sharing your goals and progress with others can help motivate you to stick to your resolutions. When no one is checking in with you about your goals, or looking forward to your progress updates, it’s easy to put something off (or never get to it at all). Leaning on a support system helps keep you honest and on target.
Research has also proven time and time again that people (and women in particular!) are less likely to skip their workouts when a friend is joining them. For some reason, it’s a lot easier to skip out on yourself than it is on a friend! So try roping in a workout buddy, for your various sessions and make sure you check in the night before to give each other a bit of a pep up!
Need a little support getting started with your fitness goals? Check out our four week KICKSTARTER program!
3. Specific And Simple
It’s easy to say you’ll start to meditate, sleep more, or spend time on self-care, but when you really think about it, how non-specific are these goals? Will you meditate in the morning or at night? Will you follow a guided audio meditation, or head to a Yin Yoga class? Transform a goal into an action plan by considering the where, when, and how.
You also want to keep you goals simple – the biggest resolution pitfall actually comes in the form of making our goals too big! Incorporate “too-small-to-fail” changes, or ‘microsteps’ into you daily life. This helps make change manageable (and still measurable). Break goals down into small bite size steps. Small steps, strong start! You can work up to bigger goals over time.
4. Stack your habits
Resolutions can be tricky to achieve because they often involve the building of new habits, or breaking of old habits. What most people may not realise is that almost half of everything we do (including eating and movement) is habitual. This means that most of our behaviours are so automatic we don’t consciously think about doing them…. we just do them (ie. drinking that 3pm coffee, or eating everything on our plate even if we’re not hungry, or eating on the coach when we’re feeling bored or tired). If we understand this about habits, we understand the importance of taking a closer look at them…. because thats half the effort right?
So think of your goals and think of the habits that you should do to complete those goals. Take the goals you want to be doing on a daily basis, and group them together with other habits you currently have (ie. habit stacking). Putting habits together in a morning routine, or an afternoon routine, or building them off a different part of your day removes the cognitive load and the stress of having to remember to do “all the things”.
Be kind to yourself and keep habit stacking simple. Don’t try and stack 8 new health habits into your morning routine which currently just consists of drinking a cup of coffee whilst rushing out the door with a piece of toast in your mouth! Focus on adding one at a time. Which leads me to a final tip about habits…. they actually can take MUCH longer than what people realise to ‘make’. Theres a bit of a myth going around that suggests you can create a new habit in 21 days…. but its actually anywhere between 18 and 254 days! Which might be why some people ‘fall off the resolution bandwagon’ come February.
5. Aim To Be Real Not Perfect
It’s easy to get caught up in a wave of enthusiasm, only to come crashing down when your initial efforts don’t produce immediate and amazing results. Aim to be real, not perfect. Enjoy the journey a little more by focusing on the process of developing new understanding, skills and competence. Consistency always pays off.
And remember, your setbacks and failures do not define you or your success. If you happen to lose your way, press the snooze button or revert to a familiar habits, don’t beat yourself up. It happens to everyone. Find your way back to the path at the very next opportunity you get. Reflect. Make adjustments. Keep on moving.
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