Happy New Year!! I wish you all good health, success, and happiness!
New Year, New Me. We have heard these statements multiple times and we have constantly made resolutions and promises to ourselves regarding how we will meet our personal, professional, and health goals in the New Year. We also get inundated with diets and detoxes and pressure to lose weight or get healthy in extreme manners. However, by the time January fades into February, most of us give up on our resolutions and vow to try some other time in the year or to try again next year. This does not make you a failure, but a human. It is a common phenomenon, and we have all been there.
So…how do you break the cycle of making resolutions that do not come to fruition aka how do you create new habits and stick to them? Creating a new habit, healthily, usually takes 35 days, roughly 7 weeks, so your resolutions take time to implement and there will be ups and downs. Here are some tips to help you stick longer to your resolutions this time around.
1. Make your resolutions specific to you and your desires. One of the reasons so many of us fail to reach our goals or resolutions are because we make our resolutions or goals too vague and possibly do not even want them but feel pressured to engage in detoxes or the like. For example, we might say “workout every single day,” which might seem specific but is actually vague and does not actually motivate us because it is such a big, imprecise goal that is just on paper. Rather, make that goal specific, so that you know what you are striving to reach daily, weekly, or monthly. So instead of a vague “workout every single day” change it to “workout for 30 minutes every day.” The goal is now more specific and easier to work towards as you now know that you have 30 minutes to dedicate to exercise every day, which will boost your motivation as you know the goals you are working towards.
2. Make your goals reasonable. Do not try to reach your goals in one short stretch. Remember that change takes time and that for a change to occur, one must be patient and continue the new habit regularly and that can only be done if one’s goals are reasonable. This means knowing that you might fail and knowing that you might not reach your target goal immediately. Humans are generally very impatient and usually expect a change immediately, and if we do not get the change we seek immediately, we try something new.. Knowing that the changes will take time can make meeting goals less challenging, pressurizing, and difficult. Do not attempt to go from 0-100 immediately as that is a sure-fire recipe for failure and burnout. Instead, if you want to start training for a marathon, firstly try to start running for 5 minutes if you have never run, instead of trying to start off by running 5 kilometers immediately. In trying to reach your goals, be reasonable in how you go about reaching the goal you have set, so that you can stay the course. Making your goals specific and reasonable, and going about reaching your goals in a reasonable manner will allow you easy to attain your goals and stick to your resolutions.
3. Measurable. It can be difficult to keep up with a resolution if we constantly feel that nothing is changing, so make sure to track the changes that you are making, which means making your goals measurable. It will encourage and motivate you if you keep track of your goals as you go along, because you can see how far you have come, which will push you to continue towards achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to read more books, keeping track every day of the pages you have read and then the books you have read monthly and comparing it to last year or against the goal you have set, will definitely encourage you to keep up the good work.
4. Productivity and consistency, not perfectionism. Perfectionism is a joy stealer if you let it take control of your life. While it is great to strive to be the best that you can be and to achieve the absolute best, trying to be perfect can stop us from achieving our goals. Remember, we are humans, and we will have off days and moments. There will be a point where you do not feel like working out, there will be a moment where you will not have time to read a page of the book you wish to read and that is fine. This does not make you a failure, just human. The point of resolutions is not to make you a robot that is perfect overnight, but to grow over time, which will of course take time and will have bumps. You might not be able to exercise every day, but you might be able to do it three times a week consistently and that is excellent and when you look back, you will see that you are able more fit and able to run, jump rope, better than before and that is what truly matters. You might not eat healthily every single day and that is fine, but you might find that you now eat more vegetables and fruits than before, which is an amazing accomplishment. Similarly, you might not be able to read more than a page of the book you wanted to read, but as long as you read that page as often and consistently as possible, you are doing a great job.
5. Attainable. Part of meeting your new year’s resolutions and part of making your goals specific is also to ensure that your goals are attainable. For example, you should not strive to exercise for an hour a day if you do not have the time-that is an exercise in futility and frustration. Rather, based on your ability, time, and energy, maybe settle on exercising for 15, 20, or 30 minutes a day. This is something that is more attainable and once you feel better and maybe have more time in your schedule, you can increase the time spent exercising. However, the first goal is always to make sure that the goal is attainable, keeping in mind that you are just beginning to implement a new habit or plan, which requires time, effort, and consistency for you to reach the end goal. So, start with baby steps and gradually build as you gain consistency.
You’ve got this! Remember, “if at first you do not succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”