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You want to lose weight in 2015, or perhaps just eat healthier. Maybe you want to spend less money or spend more time with your friends and family. And yet I have just told you that only 8% of us will stick to our New Years Resolution.
Why do so many of us fail to achieve our goals?
You desperately want to believe that this will be the year you stick to a diet, go to the gym every day, or quit smoking. Each year, we make New Year resolutions with a renewed sense of hope, that this is the year that will be different, that failure is in our past.
However this just isn’t realistic. If changing your routines was easy, there would be no need to set resolutions. You’ll almost certainly slip up at some point, and that’s OK. If you accept this, then failures can be useful—rather than being discouraging: failure is something you can prepare for and learn from.
They’re the kinds of things we know we should do but struggle to motivate ourselves to actually do in the moment: I know I’ll feel better if I go for a run this morning, but it’s cold and rainy outside and my couch is just so comfy. This paradoxical failure of will—“I know this is good for me but I don’t want to do it right now”.
Setting resolutions at the commencement of the New Year can help you to see the benefits of modifying your behaviour more clearly, and give you an extra boost of motivation. But that lift is unlikely to last, because everyday life gets in the way. One day soon you’ll be tired, hungry and craving cake and think “Screw you, January-1st, why did I think a gluten-free diet was a good idea again?!’
If you want to improve your health or find a job that pays you more, hope and willpower are not going to cut it. The difference with setting a New Years resolution and keeping it is to make it a habit. The problem is well defined: any abstract goal you have that is not tied to a specific behaviour is virtually impossible for your mind to focus on.
The key is to make any goal a habit first. Below is a list of examples of how you can create these habits from 3 of the most common New Year’s resolutions:
Resolution 1: Quit smoking vs. Habit: Stop smoking that 1 cigarette you have every morning after breakfast
Resolution 2: Eat health foods vs. Habit: Start substituting that 1 daily morning muffin for a banana
Resolution 3: Lose weight vs. Habit: Every evening after work, go for a 2-3 minute run or walk around the block.
By instantly breaking down each of your resolutions and seeing what the smallest habit could be, your chances of success will be 50% higher. You make it so easy and simple for yourself to create that habit that there is virtually no way you can fail with it.
"Remember, Take Baby Steps"
Pick one of your resolutions and make sure to break it down as far as you can, to the simplest task imaginable. If your resolution is “going to the gym”, turn it into the littlest habit imaginable that you can perform in under 1 minute.
If you would like some help creating your habit changes please send me an email at Rochelle.Finch@elitefitness.com.au and I will gladly share some tips to get you on your way for 2015.
Happy New Year
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