Have you abandoned your New Year's wellness resolutions? If so, this happens to the best of us (I know, I've been there!). You begin January inspired, determined and strong, but lose steam along the way. Then you forget all about your resolutions and revert back to your old ways come February. *Sigh.*
Well, the good news is you can choose to refocus and get back on track, with just a few modifications to your approach. Below, we outline what these are, so you can keep crushing those goals with ease.
How to stick to your New Year's resolutions
1. Be specific
Rather than vaguely saying, "I’m going to eat healthy" or "I’m going to start working out," you need to set clearly defined goals. For instance, choose to set an intention to workout three times per week or to eat five vegetables per day.
2. Make it realistic
If you’re currently sedentary and have decided to run a marathon in a month’s time, you are likely setting yourself up for failure. Instead, sign up for a 5k run the following month and begin training now. Set your sights and commit to a marathon later in the year after you’ve had the appropriate time to prepare and train.
3. Come up with a detailed plan
If you've decided to train three times a week, what will you do and when and where will you do it? You need to map out how you are going to fit the new behavior in your life. Replace wishful thinking with a real laid out plan.
4. Be forgiving
Understand that even though you're armed with a specific intention and a smart detailed strategy, sometimes life can get in the way. Fall down seven times, get up eight. If you find yourself slacking on your veggie intake for a few days, don’t sweat it. Just get right back on track. You don't have to wait until next year's resolution to try again.
5. Ditch the all or nothing thinking
After all, it's about progress, not perfection. Figure out what went wrong, why it went wrong and learn from it. Now you can correct your course of action, modify your plan and prevent it from reoccurring. Use the experience as a learning tool and adjust your behavior going forward, rather than a reason to quit.
6. Ask for help
Many people wing their programs and their nutrition plans and, while they have the best intentions, they may not be on a plan set to thrive. This can be demotivating and something I see regularly as a personal trainer. You’re trying your best and working hard but the results aren’t there. All too often, this causes people to abandon their resolutions altogether. If you’re unsure of what to do in the gym to achieve your goals, hire a trainer to design programs for you. If you’re struggling to incorporate a healthy eating plan into your lifestyle, hire a dietitian. You need to acquire the knowledge and skills in order to make your resolution a reality.
7. Identify why you have chosen your desired resolution
When we think of motivation, "intrinsic" and "extrinsic" always come to mind. Intrinsic motivation really means doing something for the joy or the satisfaction of the activity in and of itself. The motivation is internal. Extrinsic motivation then means doing something for an external reward or to avoid penalty. The motivation is external. People adopting health or wellness related goals unfortunately, often do so fueled entirely by extrinsic motivators. For example, a person choosing to work out three times a week to lose weight to impress a love interest would be extrinsically motivated. A person working out three times a week because it makes them feel good would be intrinsically motivated. Shifting your focus and motivators improves your odds of adherence to your goal. It certainly makes the commitment and process more enjoyable as well.
8. Stay the course
If you’ve had a momentary slip with your resolution, remember it’s only February. You still have 11 months left this year to work on your intention. The time will pass regardless of what you choose to do. You can either be riding high with your wellness goals accomplished by the next new year, or you can be regretful and wishing you had implemented the changes now. Make the most of 2020 and get to work!