How to Stick to Your New Years Resolutions
There is a lot of snobbery around the idea of new years resolutions – one argument being what’s the point of making resolutions that you will only break in a few weeks?
I take a different view. I believe it IS a worthwhile activity, making new years resolutions. A new year is a chance to start again, to look back on a year passed and to see what went well and what didn’t. It’s a chance to look back and learn, a chance to make changes for the future.
Of course if you look back and see a series of broken resolutions it’s not going to fill you with faith or confidence that future resolutions will be kept. But it doesn’t need to be like that.
So what can I write about keeping your new years resolutions that hasn’t already been written before? Well I can write from personal experience. For the last couple of years I have been pretty good at sticking to my new years resolutions, achieving most of them without a huge amount of difficulty. I have increased my income significantly, saved a significant bit of money, exercised over 200 times last year and completed 3 big fitness challenges.
The process of achieving goals has taught me a few things and I’m going to share my strategies with you.
As a personal trainer, a massive part of my work is to help people achieve behaviour changes. Read my guide to keeping your new years resolutions and make this year the one where you make actual lasting changes….
Hoyles Fitness guide to sticking to your new years resolutions…
1. Look at the type of resolutions you set.
I think much of the problem with new years resolutions is that they are huge personal behaviour changes, rather than guided. I’ll give you an example…
“This year I’m going to the gym 5 times per week”.
If going to the gym is a new behaviour to you, it’s a MASSIVE shift. Maybe a more suitable alternative would be to schedule in a series of fitness events that would give you to train for, join an exercise class that meets numerous times per week or even hire a personal trainer.
Make sure the goal is realistic though – remember it’s a work in progress, not a one-off. You have to set a resolution that you can stick to, even if it does require a little help!
Going down one of these routes takes some of the pressure off you and guides you towards your goal, rather than placing unrealistic expectations squarely on your shoulders. By having a helping hand, you are far more likely to achieve your resolutions.
2. Include single-actions amongst your resolutions.
There is massive value in achieving quick wins – it gives you confidence that actually, you can achieve what you say you will. Not all of my resolutions are process-based, some are single actions that I can do and tick off my resolution list. Here is an example…
“I want to add an extra £2,000 to my investment portfolio”.
With a single action, I can set up a standing order from my bank account to my share dealing account for £167 per month. At the end of the year, that single action will see me hit one of my new years resolutions by the end of the year.
One action, one resolution ticked off. It’s an easy win, but a valuable one. Imagine I kept it there for 5 years – that’s 10 grand in 5 years, not including capital growth!
3. Set resolutions where you can see progress.
Eating healthily and exercising often are not just worthwhile, they are essential. BUT, you don’t see immediate progress, it takes time and effort – one of the reasons people suffer motivation dips. Set a few resolutions where you can see immediate progress, for example…
“I want to read 25 books this year”.
This resolution has very tangible progress markers – every page I read will see me get a little closer to achieving the resolution. As I put the book I’m reading down, the book marker will be slightly further down the book. I’ll literally be seeing progress as I go.
To make this one happen, I’m leaving the book I’m reading on my bedside table – no getting away from them by putting them back on the shelf!
4. Set a resolution that motivates you.
If you haphazardly churn off a list of thing you think you should do, I’ll bet my mortgage you’ll fail. Instead, think about something you’d like/need to do and make it a new years resolution. Another one from my list…
“I want to write and sell an ebook”.
Part of my business goals this year is to take more of what I do online and use this blog as a platform where I can make some of my work available in the form of ebooks etc. This is a resolution that really motivates me, because it forms the next stage of evolution for my business, which is important to me – it feeds my family and keeps a roof over our heads! If I can’t get motivated about that, what can I get motivated about?!
5. Take action straight away. Do things to make your resolutions achievable.
This is a Tony Robbins tip re-hashed. Don’t leave the site of a goal without doing something towards it’s achievement. It seems pretty obvious, plus it helps you to at least get started on your new years resolutions!
I’m riding my bike today, so I got all of my kit together last night, so it’s ready to go. This removes a barrier to cycling. If I was feeling 50/50 about riding today, I could have just “I can’t be bothered to get my kit ready” as an excuse not to go. Not now!
Another example is with the books – I already have my next 4 books to read stacked on my bedside table, so I have a real progress report on the goal!
6. Write down and revisit your new years resolutions list.
I find this one helps to keep me on track as in a few weeks time, we will be well into 2015 and new year will seem like a long time ago. It’s then that you can easily forget about and lose track of your new years resolutions, rather see a constant reminder of where you are up to with regards to your resolutions. Try something like this to help you keep on track of your goals progress.
This works particularly well for the process goals where it’s repeated behaviours that contribute to the goal, such as doing 180 workouts in a year, or in my case, cycling 600 miles in the year or adding an extra £2,000 to my share portfolio.
For my cycling goal, I will be using my MapMyRide App – it will keep a track of my total mileage and number of rides completed. So far, all it has done is reminded me that I haven’t cycled nearly as much as I should have! By the way, it’s a social thing, so add me as a friend on it!
7. Be realistic – don’t overload yourself.
We all have limits – limits of time, of ability, of energy etc, so set goals that aren’t too far-fetched, especially if you have a history of failing when it comes to your new years resolutions.
If you have financial goals, set them so you don’t end up punishing yourself, for example if you want to save money, make sure that you still leave enough to have a good time – life isn’t enjoyable if you are constantly having to opt for the cheapest of everything.
If you want to exercise, pick something that you will do regularly. If you hate running (as I do), then don’t make a resolution to run more. You’ll hate it. There are other options.
There will be ways you can set your goals so they are a stretch and a challenge, but they won’t make life grim in the process.
So there you are, the Hoyles Fitness guide to keeping your new years resolutions! Have you set any? If so, share them if you want!
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