If you’re like me, you’re probably making the same New Years resolutions you made last year. And the year before that. And most likely, the year before that one too. Why is it so hard to have resolution success?
Creating new habits (or eliminating old ones) can be a frustrating struggle. Change can be hard, but luckily it doesn’t have to be. With all the current research being done on habits and achieving goals, there are myriad tips to create new years resolution success. I have recently learned, through reading and counseling, many doable methods of how to make habits stick (or disappear) for good! I hope these tips help you to achieve resolution success all year long, so that next year you aren’t begrudgingly making the same resolutions yet again.
1. Start small
I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal. Despite many attempts at permanently changing habits, I’ve found that this approach doesn’t work for me. Implementing habits slowly and in small increments is much more doable than going all in all at once.
Instead of making the resolution to go to the gym five days a week (when you’ve been going zero days a week), start out with the goal of once a week. Then after successful weekly visits, increase it to two, then three, until eventually you’re going five days a week.
Starting small is a much more realistic and achievable way to implement new habits. When we take the “all or nothing” approach, we’re likely to burn out quickly. Then we beat ourselves up for not succeeding, and we throw in the towel all together. If changing your eating habits is a resolution (as it has been for me year after year), start by eliminating or adding one food at a time. When you feel confident that you’ve mastered that goal, add or remove something else. Small changes are much easier to maintain than a complete lifestyle overhaul. And small changes add up to big successes over time.
2. Be excited!
When implementing resolutions into our lives, we often focus on what we’re losing, not gaining. Reframing our mindset from negative to positive isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial for resolution success. Instead of focusing on what we don’t want, we need to be excited about what we do want. Visualize yourself living your life as the “new you.” Pay attention to how you feel when imagining yourself achieving all of your goals.
Are you fighting the temptation to eat something outside your food plan? Visualize yourself saying “No” to that food, and be mindful of how you feel making that good choice. Be excited not only for the day when all those good choices add up and you reach your goal, but also for the journey to get there. When we are excited about the process of accomplishing our goals, it takes the drudgery out of the work we must do to get there. It fuels our intrinsic motivation when we celebrate every good choice we make and every hurdle we get over along the way.
So pat yourself on the back for choosing fruit over donuts. Congratulate yourself for making it to the gym. Reward yourself for every goal you achieve along the road to resolution success. Be excited for the entire process! And be excited for the healthier, happier version of yourself, waiting just on the other side of your comfort zone.
3. Believe that you are worth it
Most of us can accomplish our resolutions temporarily. We meet a goal or two, but maintaining our success is what we have difficulty with. We get a taste of accomplishment, only to sabotage our efforts a week or month into the new year. Why is this such a common occurrence? Often times, it’s because subconsciously we don’t believe we are worthy of happiness. We have to shut those thoughts up once and for all.
We are all worthy of happiness and success. It’s our responsibility while on this Earth to become the best possible version of ourselves. Every choice we make has a consequence that doesn’t just affect us personally, but the world around us as well. When we realize the volume of our worth and take better care of ourselves, that love and compassion manifests outwardly to how we relate to others. And living confidently in our own success inspires others to do the same.
The biggest hurdle to overcome in this situation is changing the way we talk to ourselves. If you regularly criticize and put yourself down, start showing yourself a little compassion. Affirmations, meditation, and spiritual or religious practices/prayers are all helpful ways to reprogram how you currently view and speak to yourself. It takes a lot of practice to rewire your subconscious to work for you rather than against you. However, the benefits far surpass the work (and change) required.
Resolution success is absolutely possible
It takes consistent effort, as well as stepping out of our comfort zones. It takes treating ourselves with compassion, and being excited about the journey and not just the destination. Lastly, it takes starting out with small, attainable goals and gradually building upon them. However, I know that 2018 is going to be different. This year I am going to have resolution success, and I wish the same for all of you!