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It is estimated that 30 per cent of the UK population will make a New Year’s resolution of some kind by January 1st. That’s approximately 12.4 billion people and nearly half of those self promises will relate to health and exercise. The most popular being to lose weight and get fit.
Women, more so than men, seem all to familiar with the New Year drill. We verbally commit to no more chocolate, to take the stairs and to rise an hour earlier to hit the gym only to find that by mid-month we lose all motivation. In fact statistics show that over 500,000 of those who make resolutions will have broken them by the January 2nd.
So why do we punish ourselves with unrealistic goals? Are we a nation of dreamers who think things will come easy to us? Or do we purposely make false promises to ourselves and expect to be disappointed?
The key lies in the way we make our resolutions. American self help author Melody Beattie says, ‘The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.’
‘By this Melody means we should take smaller steps to reach our ultimate goals’, says nutritionist Zoe Martin at Discount Supplements. ‘If your goal is to lose three stone then break it down and make it more achievable. Set yourself a target weight to lose over the course of a month, and set smaller targets in between such as going to the gym twice a week or not eating takeaways. These small resolutions will change your behavior in the long term and can really feel like you are making progress, rather than think the challenge is just too great and giving up within days.’
Around 92 per cent of people fail at their resolutions by the end of the year. It usually is not because they have not tried or are not committed they merely choose the wrong type of resolution. You may be flying along sticking to your new fitness routine for the first month only for things to get on top of you and you miss a session. It does not mean you have failed. If you plan your resolutions beforehand you can create ones that you will always be able to reach with reasonable effort.
Zoe Martin gives us some tips on setting goals for the New Year:
Be realistic about your resolutions. If you can actually see yourself achieving it then it is more likely that you will stick to it. 63 per cent of people that start New Year’s resolutions fail within the first month so keep it realistic and don’t lie to yourself.
It can be inspiring and fun to have an ambitious goal but if you can’t tell if you are getting closer to achieving it then you will fail. For example; you can’t exactly measure how happy you are but you can measure how many nice or good things you have done for others in the past week.
While working towards your goal, you must always believe you can do it. If you doubt yourself, you will start to become complacent and will slowly give up. If you allow yourself to take a break even for a small period of time you will most likely never get back to working on achieving your goal.
Having a list up on the wall of what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them will help stop you from giving up. For example have it on the wall facing you when you wake up, it will keep it fresh in your mind so you won’t start to forget or doubt yourself.
This happens more often than you think, where people set themselves extremely long term goals that can be very difficult for many people to stick too. This is purely because the more time it takes to achieve the goal the more time you have to quit before you achieve it.
For example; it appears easier to stop drinking carbonated drinks for 6 weeks than trying to stop for an entire year.
After you have been working towards your set goal, you can start to give yourself small challenges to keep you from slipping into laziness. It could be a simple challenge like adding an extra 5 minutes to your workout or not checking your social media accounts until the evening.
If you can have a friend trying to achieve the same goal will help keep both of you on track. This buddy system helps both of you as to not let each other down by giving up or putting it off.
It explains the three steps to success. Luke says ‘you need to plan how you will fulfill your goals. Then remind yourself daily. It can be something easy like leaving your running shoes by the front door to remind yourself you need to start jogging again. When you do go for that run ensure you reward yourself with a bath, or a new book or something of value to you. Set your cue’s that remind you every day and have a bank of rewards you can choose that are good for you and will motivate you.’