Whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking or looking for a new job, Christmas is over and it’s that time of the year when we think about setting New Year’s resolutions. Why is it that only one in twenty people actually succeed sticking to their resolutions? Is it because the lame New Year resolutions don’t motivate us to stick with them?
Do you fall into the cycle, regardless of your enthusiasm to radically change your life, it peters out soon after the New Year’s celebrations have ended? If this is the case, then there’s a reason, and it’s all to do with context. The motivation you’re feeling when devising these great plans during the festive break dwindles almost as soon as the New Year starts as the routines of your life, going to work, a busy social life take over again.
Make the New Year the time to embrace your dreams. Variety is the spice of life from the heart-warming to the heart-stopping, there are plenty of adventurous, challenging, and varied pursuits available for everyone. Whether it’s acquiring knowledge, learning new skills or changing jobs, or trying your hand at rock climbing or pottery, now’s the time to be brave. Stop wishing for a better life - make it happen!
We’ve consulted the help of the entrepreneur and self-help guru Paul McQueen to find out how to break the cycle of New Year failure staying positive and motivated in January as you change your daily habits to achieve your dreams.
#1: Set Achievable Goals
Up to 50 per cent of resolutions fail because people set unrealistic goals or they’re unclear about what they really want to achieve.
Be Realistic: Resolutions that are too small or insignificant will not motivate you, too big, and they can be overwhelming. Break down what you really want into small achievable milestones, especially if you’re looking to make some big changes, think about the smaller steps you need to take to help you get there. As resolutions are often about hitting a specific goal: an ideal weight, stopping smoking, a new job, you either achieve it or you don’t.
Think about small manageable process goals; the daily habits you need to do to get you there, whether it’s a new exercise routine, buying patches to stop smoking, or writing a great CV, these daily activities are the 'baby steps' which help your new habits become engrained in your mind.
Be Specific: Vague goals like “lose some weight” are programmed to fail because you won’t know when you have achieved it. Instead, set specific targets – such as to lose one pound per week - and do your best to keep to it.
Set Tangible Deadlines: When you’re considering a goal, set a tangible deadline. For example, setting a realistic objective of “achieving my optimum weight of 11 stones by 1st June” is easier to achieve than merely, “get my weight down”.
The Plan is Key: A goal without a plan is simply a wish. Write down a series of small steps that you need to do in order to achieve your goals, setting a timeline by which each one should be completed. Keep the plan close at hand and view it once-a-day at least. Planning these small, manageable steps will get you more comfortable with making ‘change’ happen, you’ll soon have the confidence and experience to take on and achieve bigger goals. Don’t plan too many New Year’s resolutions at once.
#2: Set Aside Fifteen Minutes each Day
Find out when you’re at your best. Are you a morning person or a night owl? If you are one of those who wake up raring to go then set the clock fifteen minutes earlier to work on your goals. Deciding to consistently give a ridiculously small amount of your time each day toward the things you really want in life puts you ahead of most people.
What, you’re too busy to set aside fifteen minutes of your time for something that’s important to you? Make the time you need to work on your goals and make sure that those around you respect it, not to be interrupted for something else. It can take several weeks to get a habit truly engrained, so in the early stages be persistent. If you’ve joined a gym, then keep showing up, even if it’s for a short period.
#3: Don’t Go Cold Turkey
Most New Year’s resolutions are about kicking some habit; stop eating chocolate, give up drinking for a month. If it’s a bad habit you’re trying to stop, then going cold turkey’s probably not the best way forward. It might even drive you deeper into it. Ease yourself step by step out of it reducing a little each day. Half a spoon of sugar in your tea rather that none at all will be easier.
If you’re one of the millions of people who intend to lose weight in the New Year, it’s normal – and exciting – to set health resolutions following the (boozy and over-indulgent) festive season. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of folk who set health resolutions find them almost impossible to stick to. This year, instead of giving up on your goals two weeks in, consider concentrating on creating a healthier, fitter you rather than just losing weight. You could start by incorporating some healthier foods into your daily routine. Remember, it’s not only about calories but also about eating right. This includes managing carbohydrate intake which can increase blood sugar levels. Increased glucose is responsible for a series of ailments including Type 2 diabetes. High glucose levels might also be part of the reason that you have difficulty getting to sleep.
To help get you going, I’ve created a list of foods that make it easy to start eating healthy again. Print out your free copy of the Hotlifestyle Healthy Shopping List. Here you will find foods that when included as part of your normal diet will help boost your overall vitality. Include at least two items in your diet each day. You can learn which carbohydrates drive your glucose levels through the ceiling using the Glycaemic Index.
#4: Involve Others in Your Quest
Research has shown that people who train together with a friend are more likely to persist using a gym. Find someone who shares your goal and pursue it together. When you feel like quitting, you will find it more difficult because you’ll feel that you’re letting your buddy down.
Share your goals with others on social media, you can be certain that you are not the only person with such ambitions. Use all the support you can get! Family, friends, healthcare professionals and support groups all have a part to play. Family and friends can be great motivators to help you to stay focused and strong every day.
#5: Celebrate Each Success Along the Way
Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate each victory! If you’re sticking to the plan building new habits, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easily you’ll achieve your ultimate goal. So, congratulate yourself for each successfully completed step you make. When you get to the end of the week allow yourself a treat, buy yourself something that you’ve wanted, treat yourself to a spa weekend etc.. You’re on your way to achieving your resolution!