No more new year’s resolutions
There are many reasons why you should make no more new year’s resolutions. Research shows that less than 10% of people actually manage to maintain their New Year Resolutions. The psychological impact of starting out the New Year by failing to keep up a New Year resolution can inhibit an optimistic attitude and cause self critical thinking. The most common resolutions are: losing weight, doing more exercise, quitting smoking and saving money.
Instead of New Year’s resolutions, try to change your attitude in general. The good thing about this is that it can be done at any time of the year. Figure out what it is that you want to achieve and create SMART goals.
To change your day-to-day behaviour you also have to change your thinking.
Do one thing at a time. One of the easiest routes to failure is to have too many resolutions. If you want to be fitter and healthier, do just one thing at a time. Give up drinking. Give up smoking. Join a gym. Eat more healthily. But don’t do them all at once, just choose one and do your best to stick to it. Once you have got one thing under your control, you can begin a second resolution.
Tell someone your resolution. Letting family and friends know that you have a New Year’s resolution that you really want to keep will act as both a safety barrier and a face-saver. If you really want to cut down smoking or drinking, real friends won’t put temptation in your way and can help monitor your behaviour. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from those around you.
Change your behaviour with others. Trying to change habits on your own can be difficult. For instance, if you and your partner both smoke, drink and eat unhealthily, it is really hard for one partner to change their behaviour if the other is still engaged in the same old bad habits. By having the same resolution, such as going on a diet, the chances of success will improve.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Changing your behaviour, or some aspect of it, doesn’t have to be restricted to the start of the New Year. It can be anytime.
Accept lapses as part of the process. It’s inevitable that when trying to give up something (alcohol, cigarettes, junk food) that there will be lapses. You shouldn’t feel guilty about giving in to your cravings but accept that it is part of the learning process. Bad habits can take years to become ingrained and there are no quick fixes in making major lifestyle changes. These may be clichés but we learn by our mistakes and every day is a new day – and you can start each day afresh.
On average, it takes more than 2 months (a minimum of 21 days) before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
Remember – you don’t need to be perfect so stop being so hard on yourself. Work steadily to where you want to be and have a clear step-by-step plan but accept there will be blips along the way. You are human and these blips are part of your learning curve, part of the process. A temporary setback, nothing more.
As long as you are generally going in the right direction, take time to pat yourself on the back and remind yourself that the journey is as important as the destination!
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