The start of a new year can be so many things at once, and very overwhelming at that. The New Year brings excitement of what’s ahead, a time of let-down after we say good bye to rarely-seen family and friends and a transition back to the day-to-day real world schedules following the la-la-land of the holidays. This is also the time when we make all manner of promises to ourselves – we resolve to stop bad habits and begin better ones. We feel optimistic, motivated, and even virtuous, picturing our healthy, patient, well-read, exercising, no-sugar-eating, on-time, non-smoking 2016 selves. New Year’s resolutions are great because they allow us to keep a fresh sense of confidence about what we feel we are capable of. Thinking back over decades of January 1st promises; just imagine the bionic, saint-like superheroes that would fill our planet if we didn’t so often succumb to the “February Fade,” letting our resolutions weaken into mere noble thoughts. So how do we keep from dropping the ball after the New Year’s ball has dropped?
- Be specific.
Rather than a generic declaration of “I will start eating better!” try to be precise with your goal. “I will stop eating junk food after 3:00pm” or “I will get 10 servings of produce each day” will get you a lot further, and help to hold yourself accountable.
- Be authentic.
Is your New Year’s promise about trying to please someone else? Just because your sister thinks you ought to read the entire collection of works by the Bronte sisters, doesn’t mean this is something that would actually be fulfilling to you.
- Be realistic.
You know those size 2 “skinny pants” stashed in your closet that make you feel horrible every time you see them? Aiming too high with your goals can not only make you unsuccessful with achieving them, it can also cause some pretty negative self-talk. Getting in the positive cycle of setting, then meeting achievable (yet reasonably challenging) goals will send your success rate, and your self-esteem, through the roof.
- Reward yourself.
A job well-done deserves a reward, right? Maybe your feet deserve a pampering pedicure after taking you through a 10k. Or perhaps your car deserves to be washed and detailed after taking you to and from the gym 3 days a week for a few months. If your goal is a big-time one that will take several months to achieve (think: major weight loss), keep yourself motivated by setting up a system to reward yourself for every few increments of success.
- Be kind . . . to yourself.
Research shows that up to 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first week. It often takes several serious attempts to finally reach a desired goal. If you slip, don’t barrage yourself with confidence-defeating thoughts and negative self-talk. If the doughnut tray at work gets the best of you, simply wipe the sprinkles from your mouth, remind yourself of what your goal is and why you set it, and keep going.
Augustine “Og” Mandino tells us that, “The motivation we feel on January 1st to make positive changes in our lives is the beginning step of our success. With a carefully planned method of keeping those resolutions, our success becomes a much greater reality. Need someone to help create that setting goal success? Contact your local Fitness Together and start working with a certified personal trainer today. Success is something we excel in. Read some of our client success stories.