The start of a new year feels significant, as we can easily look back over the last 12 months and sum up our successes and failures.
The idea of ‘starting fresh’ in a new year is attractive, but considering how many resolutions fail to stick, there has to be more than that to making long lasting life changes.
With some tips in mind from my favourite author on habit and behaviour change (James Clear, seriously check him out!) let’s look at some useful tips to keep your resolve after the first few weeks.
1) Be specific
‘I want to lose weight’ is not good enough. ‘I want to lose 20lbs this year is better.’ Now you have a required work-rate and a clear goal in mind.
2) Think of the action, rather than the results
Instead of ‘I want to get stronger’ skip to the thing that will actually help achieve this. Try ‘I will go to the gym three times a week’ instead.
If you keep doing the required action, the results will follow. Make starting as easy as possible to reduce all but the most extreme excuses.
3) Tell everyone, and join a group
We do a lot of things because they’re expected of us. I lost a lot of weight when I told all my friends I wanted to, just so I wouldn’t look stupid.
Even better, join a group of people with the same aim. A running club, a hobby meetup, and business development group. If you surround yourself with people already doing what you want to do, you can feed off their enthusiasm, learn some things and possibly make some friends along the way.
4) Change your environment
The things (and people) you surround yourself with drastically effect your behaviour. If you pledge to stop snacking, stop buying snacks. If they’re not in that house, the easier option is to stop snacking rather than going out to get some.
Keep a bowl of flossers on your sink, to make it easy to do, and easily to remind yourself. Same with fruit in the kitchen.
5) Take it to heart
I think the most key factor in the success of any behaviour change is how it effects your identity.
If you go to the gym three times a week without fail, that mentality becomes part of you. I quit sugar earlier this year, and it became much easier to refuse sweet treats because I could say ‘I don’t eat sweets’ instead of ‘I’ll just have one’ which I could repeat every half hour until nothing was left to eat.
Making a change to you lifestyle means permanent change, meaning your new year’s resolution becomes a lifetime habit.
6) Don’t worry if you fail
We all fail sometimes. It is inevitable but it can have a damaging effect on our willpower. If you miss the gym once or twice, it will make little difference compared to the 150 times you might go in a year, as long as you make an effort to start again.
Too many times I have considered my failure permanent, as I was too precious about keeping a perfect record.
If you slip, forgive yourself and resolve to get back on track as soon as you are able.
Whatever your new goal in life, I wish you the best of luck, and with some of these tips, I hope you have success this New Year.
Thanks for reading!