Whether you make resolutions or not, it’s challenging not to be influenced by all those around you going into the new year with new goals.
But most people abandon their resolutions by January 17th. So that’s only 17 days! Why!?
One big reason is that we often need to be more emotionally committed to the goal in the first place. And many feel more peer pressure than a personal commitment to create and stick to some arbitrary plan.
It’s a quick feel-good emotion that plays over and over as we share our new plans with friends and family.
The challenge is that when it comes to tackling new habits around health (nutrition, exercise, or managing stress), everyone tries to change everything all at once.
“This year, I’m going to stop sugar, quit alcohol, run a marathon, and go to bed every night by 9 pm!”
Can it last?
Well, perhaps for the very few, but most people find they slide back into the same old ways of doing things a few weeks or months later.
Life is messy and can throw curveballs into perfect plans, so unless you’re creating resolutions that can last through a pandemic, for example, what you resolve to do will sink like the Titanic.
So how can you make and stick to your new plans?
These five tips below will give you the confidence boost you need to keep your New Year’s resolutions and the long game in mind.
Tip #1. Master Habit Change
Although change is hard, small, consistent steps practiced daily will start the motivation ball rolling and lead to success.
Mastering change has to start with the right mindset, and focusing on less will get you more sustainable results in the long run.
If you haven’t been able to make your health a priority, I can certainly tell you why you need to make a change. Is that going to motivate you actually to make a change? Probably not.
Change can be challenging, but the mind and body must work together to form new habits.
Tip #2. Make Your Goal Uncomfortable But Achievable
Breaking a habit into the most basic version will always make it attainable and effortless. Yes, less is more.
When I work with my clients who are making a change when they decide on ONE new habit they want to improve, it has to be a 10 out of 10 “heck ya, I can do that!” reaction. If they are a 6 out of 10, we need to tweak the action enough for it to become a 10 out of 10!
Tip #3. “Add” rather than “Subtract.”
Adding something to your year is a way more exciting way to approach a resolution than taking something away or subtracting.
I’m excited for 2023 because I will “add” eating an apple every day this year. Yup, for real!
Why an apple? They are not only readily available all year round, but they are:
- Packed with fibre (which helps keep you regular)
- Boosts heart health
- Regulates blood sugar
- Full of antioxidants to help prevent some cancers
- Helpful in controlling weight. According to The Nutrition Source from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the “fibres in apples can slow digestion, helping one to feel greater satisfaction after eating. After following three large prospective cohorts of 133,468 men and women for 24 years, researchers found that higher intakes of fibre-rich fruits with a low glycemic load, particularly apples and pears, were associated with the least weight gain over time.”
Tip #4. Keep it Simple
Keep your new plan simple. “The issue is not the resolutions themselves, it’s the way we approach them,” says Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
If you want to lose weight, how you get there needs to be broken down into manageable steps, like drinking more water, a 20 min walk, or 5 minutes of meditation each day. Telling yourself that the only way to achieve that goal is never to eat a cookie again is setting yourself up for instant failure. And when you fail once, you will likely give up on the plan altogether (hello, January 17th!)
Make sure that the simplicity in maintaining your resolution is more welcoming and less painful.
Tip #5. Adopt a Growth Mindset
Working with the cookie example in mind, a limiting belief system or “no way” mentality is disempowering and can create fear, anger, frustration, or resentment. If you said “no way” every time you saw a cookie, you could feel that disempowerment.
A growth or “what if” mindset, on the other hand, is empowering and creates love, gratitude, acceptance, and optimism.
How can you go from a limiting mindset to a growth mindset? What if you add an apple a day – how great will that be?
In my book The Play Book: How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health, I include an assessment to work through your way to squash negative self-talk. You can download it here.
With those five tips in mind, whether it’s the new year or mid-June, it’s always a good time to start! Tell me, what new habit do you want to try in 2023?
“One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.” Karen Casey
May you have a playful, healthy & happy 2023!