It’s time to get real about New Year’s resolutions: they’re an absolute pain! And if you want to overcome that and be successful, you’ll need a fuel source far more powerful than willpower or discipline alone. Self-improvement, or at least desiring it, is a human hobby. It’s why so many of us make New Year’s resolutions.
Let me guess: you want to lose weight in 2018? Maybe you just want to eat healthier? Or perhaps you want to spend more time with your friends and family because, admit it, you’ve surrendered any chance of a social life to late-night study sessions and last-minute reports.
The unfortunate truth lies within a study done by the University of Scranton, which reveals that only eight per cent of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. For the rest of us, falling off track has been linked to stress, lack of motivation, and resistance to change.
But rest assured, no longer will you wallow in self-pity for failing to run that five kilometres every morning or forgetting that you promised you would cut your coffee intake to one cup per day! Use the following tips and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Pinpoint a realistic resolution that you want to make and know you can keep instead of creating a bucket list of vague changes. This latter and extreme approach is doomed to fail.
If your aim is to exercise more, start by scheduling three or four days a week at the gym instead of planning to go every day. If you’d like to eat healthier, then instead of punishing yourself and entirely skipping out on dessert, try replacing sweeter stuff with something else you enjoy, like fruit or sorbet.
CHANGE ONE BEHAVIOUR AT A TIME
Unhealthy behaviours develop over time, and replacing those behaviors with healthier ones requires patience. However, this can result in your elation quickly giving way to frustration.
The best way to keep yourself on track is to avoid getting overwhelmed and thinking that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
TALK ABOUT IT
Openly sharing your goals and experiences with family and friends is a great way to stay accountable. Consider joining some type of support group, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of friends quitting smoking.
Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor mishaps occur during the process of reaching your goals, and that’s totally normal.
Don’t give up completely because a friend of yours made a bunch of brownies and you ended up eating one and broke your diet, or because you got caught up with school or work and skipped the gym for a week. As clichéd as it sounds, having confidence in yourself is the number one way to ensure you’ll accomplish your goal.
ASK FOR SUPPORT
Sometimes we think we’re capable of doing everything ourselves — except we can’t. Sure, refusing to eat chips may sound like a simple task, but it isn’t easy for everyone all the time.
You may find that once you get that craving, it hits you so hard that you fall right back into your old habits. That’s why accepting help from those who care about you and who are willing to listen can strengthen your resilience and your ability to manage any stress caused by your resolution.
If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, you might even consider seeking professional help.
Whatever you choose, in the end, remember that we’re all aiming to be better versions of ourselves. As long as you believe in yourself, refuse to give up, and stay realistic about your resolutions, you can reach your goals in 2018. Happy New Year!
Graphics by Kia Valdez Bettcher.