We all know how years start — full of energy and determination, and umpteen New Year resolutions to be better, fitter, healthier, and whatnot. From joining a new gym to keeping a journal, the first week of the year usually sees people at their absolute productive best. The second week, however, is often a different story. Read on for a few tips on staying focused, and mending those broken resolutions.
Set Realistic Targets
The most common factor among most new year resolutions is ambition. In our attempt to make dramatic changes and transformations, we tend to overshoot our own limitations. For instance, if you’ve never tried running before, “I’m going to run 10km every day” is a pretty lofty goal. Once you start to realise it’s harder than it sounds, it’s common to stop even trying, because you feel like you simply won’t be able to do it anyway. Instead, try starting with “I’m going to run every day”. This allows you to get started with the habit, without feeling too pressured to achieve a certain milestone.
Get A Buddy
Whether it’s to make sure you go to the gym or finally sign up for that pottery class, having someone along for the ride makes a huge difference. We tend to be far more conscious of our actions when we feel we’re accountable to another person. After all, it’s easy enough to tell yourself that you’re tired, or simply not in the mood. But your buddy can make sure you get off the couch and not mess up. Don’t forget to return the favour!
Make Sustainable Changes
Enthusiasm can make us do strange things. Like signing up for a cooking class when all we can manage is boiling an egg, or pledging to run a marathon when climbing two flights of stairs leaves us breathless. Ambition is a beautiful thing, but in order to achieve it, it’s important that the changes you make to your life are sustainable. Take, for instance, a new diet. If you try to go vegan after being a hard-core meat lover all your life, the odds are stacked against you (It isn’t impossible, of course. But very unlikely). New year resolutions that demand you drastically change the kind of person you are, are often doomed to fail. And the healthiest changes are the ones you can genuinely see yourself continuing with for years, if not for life!
Mind Over Matter
A lot of new year resolutions tend to be ones we’ve attempted before. If at the onset, you tell yourself that this is something you’ve failed at before, your mind has already accepted that you’re about to fail at it again. Staying motivated is almost entirely a mental process, so try not to create your own obstacles.
Make It Bite-Sized
We often make new year resolutions without truly appreciating how much of a time commitment they can be. Instead of trying to accomplish a large task in a day (or a week), try breaking it down into bite-sized portions. For instance, instead of “I will clean the whole house this Sunday”, try “I will spend 5 minutes a day to organise and tidy the house”. Smaller quanta of work are easier to complete (everyone can spare 5 minutes a day!). Moreover, actually checking those tasks off your daily to-do list provides a sense of accomplishment, which will discourage you from quitting.
Lack Of Planning
It’s easy enough to resolve to work out for an hour a day. Finding that hour in the middle of a packed work and family schedule, on the other hand, is usually more of a challenge. If you’re someone who struggles to find time for yourself on a daily basis, factor that in when trying to make your new year resolutions. There’s no sense setting yourself up for failure.
Accept That You Will Stumble
There are absolutely no people in existence who have never stumbled while working on achieving their goals. No matter how dedicated and consistent you are, you will have bad days. There will be days you don’t feel like working out, or days you crave a sip of wine, and days you really don’t want to eat a salad. It’s important to understand that a single off-day won’t undo all your effort. It’s just a temporary setback, not the end of the road. Simply accept it, get past it, and move on.
Stay focused, and you’ll be able to tackle those new year resolutions all through the year!
Stay Healthy. Grow Fit.