The number 1 reason New Year’s resolutions fail and how to fix it
A few weeks into the year and it’s likely that any New Year’s resolutions you set yourself are starting to fall by the wayside. Resolutions get a bashing on social media, but I like them, I think it’s the perfect time of year for a bit of reflection on what worked and what didn’t previously. You can use this information to set yourself new targets and to a plan of action for the year ahead.
The main problem with New Year’s resolutions (and the reason that most people fail) is that every year you set the same lofty ambitions and pie in the sky goals that are just too difficult to achieve.
“I’m going to exercise every day for the rest of my life”. Or “I’m not going to let even a hint of carbohydrate pass my lips ever again”.
We set ourselves these goals that are so gargantuan in nature that they swamp us and before long (usually before the end of January) we’ve forgotten about them and are back to eating ice cream straight from the tub.
So how can we stick to our resolutions? What is it we need to do to finally stick to one of these targets we set ourselves?
In this article, I’m going to give 3 sure fire tips for success in 2018, so you can finally make this year “your year”.
Tip 1: Your goals need to be more realistic
When you set yourself a target, ask yourself this….
Can you see yourself doing this in a year’s time?
If the answer is “No”, then the chances are this goal is just too far-fetched. If only we were to use a heavy dose of realism when writing our goals down, we might stick to them a little bit better.
So, what does a set of more realistic resolutions actually look like?
“I’m going to exercise every day” becomes “I’m going to train twice per week for a year”.
“I’m never eating a carbohydrate ever again” becomes “I’m only going to eat carbs with 1-2 of my main meals per day”. (I’m not saying you need to do either of these by the way, understand that they are just examples).
The changes you make should be geared towards long term lifestyle change, as opposed to quick fixes.
The people who lose weight and actually keep it off are the ones who manage to segue positive habits into their lifestyle, rather than make unrealistic wholesale changes.
A few years ago, I learnt how to speak Spanish. I’d set myself the goal of learning it for about 3-4 years previously and done nothing about it, because the goal was far too lofty. When I broke it down into “I’m going to practice 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week”, I managed to learn much better, because it was a more realistic goal.
Tip 2: Changes need to be positive
Far too often I see New Year’s goals that are just so damn negative. You’ve probably done it yourself at least once or twice. You cut out all alcohol, all forms of chocolate, sugar and cakes and basically any enjoyment you get from food. In fact, the only time you get close to a carbohydrate is when you walk past somebody smoking a cherry flavoured vape!
These sorts of changes aren’t positive. They demonise certain foods and/or food groups unnecessarily. Instead of taking lots of things away from your diet, why not add stuff in that will make a positive change?
- You could add in 5-10 servings of fruit and veg per day.
- You can ensure you eat 1-2g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day.
- You could drink 2-3 litres of water per day.
All of these are positive actionable changes, it’s more than likely that if you do these 3 then you’ll naturally eat less crap, the main difference is the mind-set that goes with it. With this method, you improve your lifestyle with positive habits, rather than cut stuff out in a negative fashion.
Tip 3: Make yourself accountable
Words are useless without action, so now that you’ve now set yourself a much more realistic goal, it’s time to start doing it.
Only you can make yourself accountable.
Track your progress by taking pictures and measurements on a monthly basis. Keep a food and training log to ensure you have something to refer to if you need to make small changes to your plan.
You could treat yourself to a new pair of jeans in your target size. Or even have a mini bet with yourself and reward progress by doing something you love to do.
For instance, you may reward yourself with a trip to the cinema or a gig once you have been to the gym 10 times in a month, or hit a new PB on your deadlift (don’t reward yourself with food though, that is a definite no-go).
Who have you told about your goals? You should have at least told close friends and family so that they can support you. You may also want to post your progress on social media, I’m fully of the opinion that we should celebrate our victories, no matter how small they seem. If you’ve just set a new PB in a squat then tell people, it’s more than likely most will think it’s cool. When you get positive feedback from your loved ones and peers it’ll make you feel good and encourage you to carry on.
Stop being so hard on yourself
OK I know I said there were 3 tips, but this is important, so consider it a bonus tip…
When things go wrong, do you cry about it or just get back on with it?
You need to stop being so hard on yourself when things don’t go to plan. You’re going to encounter roadblocks and barriers to what you want to achieve. It’s called life.
If getting in great shape was so simple, everyone would be walking around looking like an Abercrombie and Fitch model.
You’ve got to learn to play the long game and enjoy the process.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then understand that fat loss isn’t linear, some weeks you’ll lose more than others. Some weeks you may even put a bit of weight back on. As long as you are seeing a downward curve month on month then that’s a good thing. Even if you’re not seeing positive changes, then there’s no need to quit, use the information you have, such as your food and training log to evaluate what needs to change in order to progress, or if you don’t know then hire somebody that can help you.
So, give these tips a go and try a different approach this year, that way you won’t have to read blogs like this next year.