How do you make your New Year's Resolution stick? (At least past the first week anyway...) Most people have quit by now. I'm offering some tips I've learned over the years.
People in the Northland tend to make resolutions about weight. We spend a lot of time indoors and/or eating in the colder months so most of the time there is a big push to get into summer weight and start now.
Most people have things they would like to do differently in the New Year. Most of the time it's losing weight or some other bad habit they have. Sometimes it's to start something new, maybe take up snowshoeing (one of the hottest things to do in the area). Maybe try surfing? Now is the time to start because you only get waves big enough when the weather is cold.
Whether it's to change a habit, stop something, or start something for the New Year, there are certain things to follow and it will help you be successful.
What Is Your Motivation?
Is it to be healthier by losing weight, stopping smoking, cutting down junk food intake, or ramping down your drinking? The Pandemic has changed all of us because we have worked at home, don't get out as much, or aren't as active because we aren't doing things with our friends. Answer the question why do you want to change, stop, or start this new thing? The answer just might be your motivation, if you don't have an answer, you will fail. In other words, if you want to lose weight to look better to others, the motivation isn't there and you will fail.
Set Realistic Goals
I hear this one all the time. If the goal is to get to your high school weight, that might be too lofty. Make the goal smaller and attainable, when you hit your goal it inspires you. If it is to save money, don't make the goal to buy a house by the end of the year, make the goal that you will only eat out 1 time a week instead of 3 and put away the money you saved for one of those nights. Create a plan. There is a savings plan going around the internet where you save the amount of money equal to the week of the year it is. $1 the first week until you put away $52 the last week of the year. You will be surprised how fast this will add up, then you have achieved your goal and it motivates you to the next new year.
Focus On The Behavior
Like I just talked about making goals, this kind of goes hand in hand. Don't just try to achieve the goal, look at what behaviors are causing the problem. Wanna lose weight, stop having two helpings. Wanna save money? Stop eating out and buying large items you don't really need on your credit card. Small ways you can change the behavior and still achieve the goal.
Your Body Isn't Always Telling You The Right Thing
When you try to eat less, your body is used to the regular food intake you have and is now telling you it wants it again. If you fall on your knee your body tells you it hurts, and you try not to fall again. You are going to feel discomfort, that doesn't mean you have to follow through on the feeling. It will be tough but you can train your body to behave as you want it to. If you want to quit smoking, you may feel your body telling you that you NEED to have a smoke, or you are crabby because you are quitting. You are starting a diet and you feel hungry all the time during the first and second weeks of the diet. Push through it and you can change for the better.
Make Your New Behavior A Must-Do
If you say you will start running or walking early in the morning, right after work, or on your lunch break. Don't talk yourself out of it. Make it non-negotiable. It would feel so good to skip the early morning workout instead of getting up in the cold and completing your task. If you must do it, you will make it a habit and then it becomes no different than getting up for work, brushing your teeth, or making meals. Start saying, I WILL get up, not I HAVE TO get up.
You Are Not Perfect
I do this, and it was something my Aunt does to stay on course in a diet or anything else you are trying to change. Allow for a bump in the road, or put a cheat in your plan so that you can fall off the rail, but get back on right away. My Aunt will have a cheat day where she can enjoy something she really likes. For me, if I am watching what I eat, I might get a glazed donut from the bakery and enjoy it. Then move forward and continue my changed behavior. I feel like I got away with something, and it gets rid of the temptation.
One of my favorite songs by Van Halen. The first line of the song says, "Don't wanna wait till tomorrow, why put it off another day?". If you are going to do something, start now. Too many people say I'm gonna have cake because I start my diet this weekend. Next thing you know you are putting off the weekend to start Monday, then Tuesday, you get where I am going with this. If you start now, you have started and you have no reason to get out of it.
If you do hit a major bump in the road, don't let it make you quit. For example, you are at a friend's wedding and there are some wonderful things that aren't on your diet being served, and you drink, and eat, and drink, and eat, and....you get it! Most people wake up the next day and give up because they went so far off their goal. Get back on the horse and start riding again. The other thing that makes people quit is friends. Ask for their support or they will be like your conscience, talking you out of your resolution. "Ah, you will probably quit next week" is what they will say, at that point say. This is hard for me and I really need your help. I included this video because it helped inspire me, because the hardest person to please is yourself.
I have begun my new year trying to change a couple of things, I want to follow through. I made 10 resolutions last year and followed through on all of them but 2. I could say I failed, but following my own advice, I am 80% for 2021, I will do better for 2022.