Losing weight and getting fit are the most popular New Year’s resolutions in the UK. So why do we start January with the best of intentions and end it in frustration and disappointment? Today Nikki aims to help keep you on track and focus on your goals for 2015.
Around one third of New Year’s resolutions are about losing weight.
About 15% are about kick-staring a new exercise regime.
And around 95% fail.
Depressing isn’t it?
So why is it all willpower evades us when we need it most?
Well, for starters January is a terrible time of the year to make promises. Especially promises about eating less and working out more.
It’s cold, it’s dark and you feel demotivated after a December of excess.
But even though it’s tough, I want you to make this year the exception to the rule.
You’ve made your pledge. You’ve set the bar. It’s time to make it count.
What is your goal?
You have probably already made your resolution for 2015.
If you haven’t, you should think very carefully about what it is you want to achieve.
If you have, maybe you should re-evaluate it so you have one clear aim in mind.
In my experience, many resolutions are based on unrealistic expectations for the next 12 months.
And really it would be better for your mindset – and chances of success – if you thought about your goal in a series of baby steps. This makes it far more achievable.
So instead of saying you want to lose three stone by next Christmas, try opting for 2lbs a week.
And instead of wishing for a six-pack by summer, plan to work out for an hour twice a week and build yourself up gradually.
Manage your expectations
The truth is that if we reach too high and try to grasp too much it is likely we will fall down quickly.
Many resolutions are about changing habits that are completely ingrained in our behavior patterns.
The key to success is to be realistic about our goals.
Change does not happen simply because we wish it would. It involves hard work.
This is why New Year’s resolutions should involve comprehensive planning.
Research tells us that the most successful changes occur, and are maintained, when they are approached in a gradual and committed manner.
After all, change takes time.
Don’t beat yourself up
Perfectionism is the plague of the New Year’s resolutions.
You will stray from the programme. You will make mistakes.
Don’t beat yourself up about a slip up. But conversely, do not use a slip as an excuse to abandon the plan altogether.
Stick with it
Here are my top tips to keep you focused
- Don’t be rash
Don’t make a resolution on a whim. Think carefully about what it is you want and how you plan to achieve it.
- Commit it to paper
When you outline your plan, write it down. A list of minor goals will help you feel motivated, especially if you can tick them off one by one as you achieve them. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
- Talk about It
Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best-case scenario is to find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and motivate each other.
- Work out how to avoid temptation
Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking or referring to your list which shows you how far you have come.
- Reward yourself
Celebrate each of your successes by treating yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution. If you have been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, reward yourself with new clothing or by going to the cinema with a friend.
- Don’t obsess
Obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
- Be patient
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient.
- Keep trying
If you have totally run out of steam when it comes to keeping your resolution by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! Recommit yourself. After all, you do not need it to be January 1st to start afresh.
Good luck and Happy New Year!