It’s that time of year again! When we take a step back after the chaos of holidays, re-evaluate our lives and decide to set a New Year’s resolution.
Whether it’s to lose weight, save more, spend less or quit drinking/smoking, we set our resolutions with good intentions. But, how many times have you told yourself ‘this is the year’? Sadly, most of us don’t make it very far with only 8% of people actually fulfilling their resolution.
A paper published in the American Psychologist reported that most people need five or six attempts at their resolution. “New Year’s resolvers typically report making the same pledge for five years or more before they manage a six-month success, and of those who fail this year, 60 per cent will make the same resolution again the next year,” Janet Polivy and Peter Herman wrote.
Setting achievable resolutions
So how can you be a part of the small group who succeed with their New Year’s resolutions in 2018? According to the American Psychology Association it’s important to remember that New Year’s resolutions aren’t supposed to be a catalyst for sweeping character change.
Instead it’s a time for people to make positive lifestyle changes. “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says Psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD.
1. Scale it back
Stick to resolutions that are actually achievable. If you want to exercising more, then commit to doing it three days a week instead of every day. Spending an hour in the gym every day is not realistic for most of us. But, a 30 minute walk every second day is. Decide what it is you want and work out an achievable way to get there.
2. Take it one step at a time
Changing your behaviour can take time, don’t be overwhelmed thinking because it’s a new year you have to be different overnight. ‘New year, new me’ should be more of a figure of speech. Pick one thing at a time to focus on changing.
3. Make it public
Share your goals, successes and struggles with family and friends. If you have common goals why not get a group together and support each other?
4. Track your progress
Resolutions are about making progress towards being a better version of yourself. So let’s celebrate the small wins as a way of staying motivated and on track. Set small goals throughout the year that all accumulate to one bigger goal. When you reach the small goals, celebrate it! It can be something small like buying a new bikini when you hit a goal weight to something larger like booking that overseas holiday.
5. Don’t beat yourself up
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon! We are only human and losing track of our goals can happen, especially with the busy lives we lead. Instead of throwing in the towel as soon as we miss a workout or giving up on the diet if we ‘accidentally’ had ice-cream for dinner, keep going! One small slip up along the way doesn’t discount all the great work you’ve done to reach your goals.