Sticking to your resolutions
It's January, the start to a new year and with that comes talk of resolutions.
Do you have a resolution for 2018?
Do you like resolutions?
Have you been successful with your resolutions in the past?
If you're anything like most people, the answer to those questions is "no".
I don’t personally make grand sweeping resolutions like, “I'm going to quit this or take up that this year”.
For me, a new year is a chance to look back at the past year and see what I did right, what I learned from and what I want to bring forward with me into the next year. However, having a resolution that you've backed with a plan can be a powerful way to leverage change in your life.
The biggest problem with resolutions - whether we make them at the beginning of the year or any time in between - is that they have a certain all or nothing feel. This all or nothing mentality is what stops a lot of us from making big changes in our lives. You are going to stumble and fall off the wagon, but as long as you keep going in the right direction you'll get where you want to be. We resolve to do something and at our first road block we give up. We tell ourselves: “oh I tried but I couldn't do it”, or “Ill do it tomorrow" or "I’ll try again next year”.
Getting rid of the all or nothing attitude is the best thing you can do. Don't be this person: “I’m going to start my diet on Monday, so I have to eat all of the junk food in the house this weekend”.
Start today and do a little bit at a time.
It's going to be hard and it's not going to look the way you planned it, but don't stop every time you mess up. Maybe you miss a workout, maybe you smoke a cigarette after saying you'd quit, this doesn't mean you have to start all over again.
If you're going to stick to your resolution it helps to have a plan,
These five tips will help you stay on track.
1) Get rid of the all or nothing attitude.
I spoke about this earlier, but change your mindset around all or nothing and move in the direction you want to go without being so hard on yourself for messing up along the way or worse, quitting all together.
2) Find the one thing you can do daily to get you to the end result you want.
Break your goal down into a single activity that if done day in and day out will get you to your goal. Quitting smoking? Don't have a smoke today, and then mark the calendar every day that you don't smoke.
3) Recruit a friend to keep you accountable to your goal.
Working out with a friend is more fun and you're less likely to skip if some else is going to be let down if you don't show up. We’re more inclined to show up for other people than we are for ourselves (which is kind of sad), but powerful none the less.
4) Reward yourself when you accomplish your goal/resolution.
Choose a way to reward yourself for accomplishing your goal. This gives you something to look forward to and will act as additional motivation for sticking with your resolution.
5) Fill the space.
If you're getting rid of a bad habit, it can help to fill that void with a positive behaviour that will keep your mind off of the old habit and help you build a new positive habit. I heard a story about a guy who was trying to quit smoking and anytime he got a craving he would do ten pushups. Fill the void with something positive that you enjoy doing; this will ease the withdrawal from the bad habit you're trying to kick.
It's a fresh year and whether you've made resolutions or not, I hope these tips help you make positive changes in the year ahead.