New Year’s resolutions. We kind of scoff at them. We kind of roll our eyes at them. We avoid saying them out loud to anyone who might be listening. Yet we all kind of do them. Kind of. Why is it that when being confronted about our own desire to be better people, most of us throw our hands up in the air and walk away? Why is self improvement so hard? Why is it such a joke? Why shouldn’t you be better than you were yesterday? It’s not a bad thing? Right? Regardless of how people react when being asked the dreaded New Year’s Eve question, every year, millions of people still make resolutions. This is super important. This indicates that most of us want to spark change. Positive change. And that’s a great thing, right? So, what’s the problem?
If you look at any websites that discuss “Top New Year’s resolutions” you will find that most of the studies compile similar results.
· Loose weight
· Eat healthier
· Exercise more
· Save more money
· Cut back alcohol
Now, I’m no expert on saving money or drinking less, so we will not be focusing on that today. What we will be focusing on, are the top three categories, which seem to go hand in hand.
Did you know that 12% of all new gym memberships occur in the New Year? And that 4 % of New Years resolutioners quit by the end of January? Does it shock you to learn that 14% of all those people who had great intentions quit by the end of February? And then boom, within the next three months, 80% of all the resolutioners have quite entirely. (Hoffman, 2020). Now let me ask you again. What’s the problem? Most of us set really big goals that seem simple at first but end up taking a very long time to get to the payoff. We need to make our goals more practicable. Let’s look at weight loss for example. What sounds more attainable? Losing 50 pounds this year? Or cutting out junk food for 30 days? Obviously, the latter is the better solution, because typically when we cut out junk food, weight loss follows. The victory that comes from achieving the smaller, more realistic goal, motivates us to stay on track, overall contributing to the bigger picture.
Okay, so you are going to cut out junk food for 30 days. How? How are you going to do it? What’s the plan? If you don’t have a plan, I promise you, you will fail. When you are setting your main goal (no matter what it is), think about all the little things you will need to do to achieve it. Do you need to clean out your pantry before you start? Do you need to make a grocery list of all the foods that will be replacing the bad ones? Do you need to make sure you and your significant other are on the same page? What about meal prepping? The good news? There are tons of lists, calendars, planners, and apps available for you to use, which will help you get more creative to make it fun! But whatever you do, write it down! Studies have shown you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis (Carlyle, 2020). Now scroll back up and take another look at those gym statistics! That’s a lot of people not writing down their goals!
You can take control of your goals by changing your habits. To be able to change a habit, you need a different routine. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to getting more exercise, is not being able to find the time. But it’s a simple concept, really. You need to be able to replace something you already do (preferably not of importance) with workout time. You need a trade-off. Let’s say, for example, you set your alarm for 7AM every morning to start getting ready for work. You shudder at the thought of getting up an hour earlier and tell yourself you just can’t do it. But starting a new morning routine is possible! Ultimately, you may have to give up an hour of Netflix the night before or move your alarm clock to the other side of the room so you don’t have the option of pressing snooze, but the trade-off will be worth it! The trade-off can help you achieve your goals! You should also make the new routine as easy as possible for yourself. Some of my favorite runners swear by sleeping in their running gear so they can literally just roll out of bed and run out the door first thing in the morning. Talk about efficiency! At the end of the day, you will make time for what you want to make time for. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid of change!
Finally, and what I personally think is the most important component to goal getting, is the support we need to reach our goals. Success will not happen without support. Support can come from paid coaches, trainers, and nutritionists, but most importantly, should come from the people you surround yourself with. Your people should want to see you succeed. They should want to join in on the party, which can happen in many ways! If your best friend is not on board with eating healthy, ask them not to eat junk food in front of you. If you want to get up at 6 AM to go running, ask your partner to make breakfast for everyone while you are gone. I cannot say it enough. Do not be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you are weak; it only means you want to achieve your goals.
If you’re anything like me, you probably spent most of New Year’s Eve staring at your closet, wondering what to wear to your very own living room party. Once you decided on leggings and a t-shirt, you stuffed your face with Chinese food, and washed it down with a gallon of red wine (and Champaign, if you were lucky). At the stroke of midnight, you watched the ball drop, toasted your family, and acknowledged that you are exceptionally grateful you all survived 2020. But then you felt it. That same feeling you get every year on January 1st at 12:00 AM. That strong cliched desire to make this year YOUR year! Guess what? You can do it! I have faith in you! Remember this though. If your goals don't work out this year, there’s always the next one.
Do you have any tips on following through with your resolutions? Comment below!