The end of the year usually leaves us all reflecting on the choices we’ve made over the past 365 days and promising ourselves that we’ll be better once the clock strikes 12 on January 1st. Of course, most of us don’t stick to our resolutions for too long – in fact, only 8% of people keep them. So, what’s the problem here, is it us?
Motivation and willpower do play a part in the success of resolutions, however many of us make unrealistic goals year on year that only set us up for failure. Arbitrary promises such as ‘I’m going to eat better’ and ‘I’ll go to the gym more’ don’t exactly leave much room for victory.
The key to keeping your resolutions is simple: lower your expectations and make them achievable. Remember, you can always change them later in the year.
With that in mind, here’s how to personalize cliché resolutions and smash your goals this year.
Make them S.M.A.R.T
Trying to lose weight, eat healthier or get fit without any target is similar to wanting to redecorate your living room without creating a Pinterest board – it just isn’t going to happen. To be successful with your fitness goals, whatever they are, you need to set out a plan that is S.M.A.R.T.
S = Specific
You need to set out your resolutions with a clear goal in mind. If you just say ‘I want to lose weight’, you’ll never do it.
M = Measurable
Make yourself accountable. If you want to lose weight, for example, be consistent. Whether that’s with weigh-ins or however you’re tracking your progress (measurements, pictures, etc.). You need to be able to see if you’re achieving or not.
A = Attainable
Don’t claim you’re going to lose 10 pounds in a week because no matter what the adverts might tell you – it’s not going to happen. Start off small and adjust once you’re on a roll. You’re more likely to stick to your plan if it’s actually achievable!
R = Relevant
This one is straightforward: make sure your actions are relevant to your goal.
T = Time Based
If you don’t have a time frame, you’re throwing mud at a wall and hoping it sticks. That being said, don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet your own timeframe though, it’s just a starting point and helps you to be focused on your goal.
Okay, so now you know how to make resolutions the right way, here’s how to break free of the cliché health and fitness resolutions and be more realistic.
‘I want to lose weight’
Wanting to lose weight is great if it’s aligned with other health goals. Remember, weight loss should never come at the expense of your physical or mental health. Here are some weight loss resolution alternatives.
‘I want to go to the gym 3 times a week.’
‘I will take the stairs instead of the lift.’
‘I’m going to stop relying on my car and walk/cycle more.’
‘I want to eat better next year’
How are you planning to do this? If you go cold turkey and ban all the foods you like, it won’t work. 95% of fad diets don’t work because they’re not designed to work – they’re unattainable.
A better way of adjusting your eating habits is to focus on changing small things. Some examples:
‘I’m going to meal prep all my lunches for the week.’
‘I’m only going to have a takeaway once a month.’
‘I will stop drinking alcohol during the week.’
‘I will only have dessert on Fridays’.
No matter what your goals are this year, make sure they’re healthy, achievable and most importantly: for you and you alone.
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