There’s sweat in the air. Everyone has lofty fitness and nutrition goals in January, and in a few months only a few will still be motivated. From personal experience the gyms are full starting at the first of the year and by March the numbers quickly disappear.
Everywhere you look online there’s pressure forcing you to declare your resolutions and how you will be better in the new year. So why isn’t your resolution going to last this year? And how can I help set you up for success?
You’re doing too much
How many goals did you set? Let me guess: less alcohol, more sleep, more exercise, less carbs, cut the sugar, meditate more, try vegan, read more books.
It’s too much, pick one or two for the first three months and at the end of those three months, reevaluate. Take note of what worked and what didn’t? Add to your current routines or adjust them to make them work with your schedule. Adding too many changes at once is a recipe for burnout. If you don’t enjoy your plan, it’s not going to last.
You don’t have an accountability partner
The power of accountability and relationships can be the make or break to your new year resolution. I could write a book on how important an accountability partner is, but I’ll leave you with a simple paragraph this time. Having someone to celebrate with when you reach your goal is important, just as having someone to go to when your new habit gets hard is equally as important.
Having someone meet you at the gym will ensure you don’t snooze your alarm a third time. Having someone to text when you’re feeling discouraged about the number on the scale can help remind you this is a marathon not a sprint. You need a person who is in the struggle with you to keep you going when you feel like you aren’t making in progress.
I believe that the number one factor in a successful lifestyle change is the people you’re surrounded by. Find someone that shares a similar goal and is committed to being honest with you. You want someone that can call you out when you need it, and also congratulate you when you’re making progress. Don’t keep your resolutions to yourself, tell friends and family so they can encourage you.
You are focusing on the negative instead of the positive
I find that if you focus on introducing good habits into your life and you work at them it will snowball throughout your entire life and start to crowd out the negative. Positive goals mean you get to celebrate positive results. Diets for example are almost always restrictive so your brain focuses on what you are missing out on and it doesn’t feel as fun to restrict yourself.
If you set a goal to eat less sugar your brain will focus on eating less sugar, which in a very reverse psychology way will make you crave sugar.
On the other hand, if you set a goal to eat more fruits and vegetables and fill your plate with all the good stuff, you will not only start to retrain your tastebuds to not need the sugar, but you will be so full that you wont have as much room for the empty calories.
How to make a resolution that will last.
Don’t make a resolution for the entire year.
Start small. Make a goal for 1 month, and then add on two more months. Keep extending your goals and building off of them to ensure they work with your life. Adjust them to fit your schedule and make them sustainable so much that you look forward to doing them.
Don’t expect to go from zero to 3 – 4 x a week overnight. If you’ve never cooked at home and suddenly your goal is to only cook at home during the week, you have to expect it to be hard. Start with 1 new easy recipe or 1 new vegetable a week and learn to cook that well and then continue to add new foods and simple recipes.
Have a simple plan
Your goal to a healthier lifestyle shouldn’t be a 10 step plan to ramp up a new yoga practice, run a half marathon in addition to a strength routine. If you want to succeed, start small and simple. I created One Year Fit for just this reason. For a resolution to be successful you need to ensure it fits with your schedule, financial capabilities, preferences, etc. If you introduce too many things at once you’re setting yourself up to fail.
The best diet is as simple as eating real foods that don’t need nutrition labels. The easiest exercise plan is moving every day. The best way to start meditating is to start for 5 minutes, or even 1 minute. Want a stronger core? Do a plank every day for 1 minute. Surely you can carve out 1 minute a day. Start simple and conquer simple and then add on as your habit gets stronger.
If you want a new habit to stick you have to be patient. Remember, we are breaking 20+ years of habits, so expect it to take longer than a week to rebuild a new one. This is going to take time and you have to give yourself a break. Setting realistic expectations in another important factor in a successful resolution. Keep at it and remind yourself to be patient.
Also I urge you not to compare yourself with others around you. While some people can make small changes and see instant results, everybody is different. The reason there isn’t one diet or one exercise routine or one concrete way to reduce stress is because we all have our own lives and need to create habits around those instead of trying to force other people’s habits into our schedules. This takes reflection and perseverance and time…. so be patient!
Leave a comment with 1 or 2 goals you’ve set for 2021 and how you plan to achieve them!