You felt great when you made those New Year’s resolutions last year. You were going to turn over a new leaf. Become a “new you.” Get a fresh start.
Then, two weeks after you made them, you folded. You gave up. It was just too hard to stick to them for good, even though you wanted to.
This year does not have to be more of the same. Failing at New Year’s resolutions is so common that it’s become something of a running joke, but you really can shake those bad habits. You can stick with your resolutions. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help.
Remind Yourself of Your End Goals Frequently
Maybe your goal is to eat better or run three miles every day. That’s tough when you feel like eating that last slice of pizza or staying home instead of heading for the gym. It’s helpful to focus on your real end goal and remind yourself why you started down this path. For instance, maybe your true goal is to lose 20 pounds. Focusing on that can get you through the temptations.
Remember That Change Takes Time
This is especially true with fitness and weight loss goals. You’re not going to get there in a week. It could take months. Don’t get discouraged. Just focus on the little gains. It’s still encouraging to lose one pound, and then two and then three – even if it’s a long way to 20.
So you want to run that marathon in the fall. That’s great, but you’re not going from nothing to 26.2 miles all at once. Start by running a mile every day. Work your way up. Your progress will motivate you.
Don’t Give up After One Mistake
Maybe your goal was to run a mile every day. Then, on one lazy Sunday, you didn’t do it. Don’t give up on your entire goal just because of that one day. Take a mulligan and start fresh the next day. Knowing you have a little bit of room for error makes it feel less daunting and research shows you’re more likely to be successful.
Use Temptations as Motivation for Other Goals
Find something that you love, that you’re already tempted to do, and link it to your resolution. Perhaps you want to get into stationary biking, for instance. Most nights, though, it sounds far better to stay home and read your favorite book series. There’s an easy combination here. Just resolve to read your books while you’re on the bike. Then, even if you don’t feel like biking, you’ll do it because you want to read that next chapter. This can also distract you and help you work out far longer.
Have a Plan
You need more than a resolution. You need a plan regarding how you’ll get there. Don’t say: “I’m going to go to the gym more.” Say: “I’m going to go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.” Don’t say: “I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables.” Say: “I’m going to eat a piece of fruit with every breakfast and a salad with every lunch.” Having a distinct plan for how you’re going to meet your resolutions makes them far more likely to happen.
Make a List
It can also help to make a list of goals. When they’re written down, it’s easier to make sense of where you are and where you’re trying to get. Perhaps you can run one mile already, but you want to work up to 10 miles at the same pace. Make a list of mile goals so that you know when you’ll bump it up to two miles, three miles, etc.
You can keep your resolutions this year. And you will. You just need to believe in yourself and stay dedicated.