By: Katie Verburg
Katie Verburg is a personal trainer who is currently studying to become a certified holistic health coach. Here, she shares why it’s so hard to keep those new year’s resolutions — and how to be successful.
“New year, new me” might be a good mentality to have – if only it stuck around for longer than three weeks. There’s an estimated 80 percent of individuals who bail on new year’s resolutions before the month of February even begins. Why is it so difficult to keep resolutions? Truthfully, people have good intentions, but it takes longer than a day for a newly formed habit to become the new normal. Adding something new to an already busy day or week is a challenge. And sticking to it feels unrealistic because it’s never been prioritized before.
Think back to learning how to ride a bike. Getting up, staying balanced, and riding off without falling isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and it takes practice. The same is true for new year’s resolutions. When life gets in the way, this new goal or resolution is pushed to the side. It’s important to keep in mind that creating a list of resolutions or goals of more than 1-2 things will most likely fail before it has the chance to begin. Here are some tips that will help when it comes to setting new goals:
A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not do something, whereas an intention is something you aim or plan for. Instead of creating these “resolutions” that have the probability to fail, try to create intentions instead. Aim to add in small changes that over time will lead to success and result in lasting change. Try adding in 1-2 intentions each month, instead of looking at the entire year as a whole.
This can’t be stressed enough: Start slow and start small. A goal of exercising seven days a week with no history of exercise is a lofty goal. But how does one get there? By incorporating small movements throughout the week. Mobility work, yoga, and stretching don’t get the credit they deserve because they’re not associated with buckets of sweat and hundreds of torched calories. But they are just as important when it comes to physical activity. Try adding a few stretch days into your schedule. Take it one step further by taking the stairs instead of the elevator and going for a walk during lunch. Go the distance and park further away than usual when going to the grocery store or the office. Any of these activities will get you up and moving if “get stronger” is your goal.
Coming to terms with the fact that life isn’t perfect is key. Sticking to a specific plan may not work out 100 percent of the time, and that’s okay. Inconveniences teach flexibility, and flexibility teaches us how to prioritize what’s important. Remember: Even if things don’t go as planned, there’s always a way to reorganize and adjust; the answer doesn’t have to be to give up entirely.