1. Be realistic
It’s very easy to pick new year resolutions that are aspirational and a complete change of direction for us, essentially to become a different person. This is a sure fire way to fail. There is nothing wrong with having a long term goal like this, but you need short and medium term goals on the way there. Think of your end point as the long term goal that may take years to achieve, but for your new year resolution choose a short or medium term goal, that you can realistically achieve within a year. It’s also important to think about how your resolution will affect your day to day life - will it have an impact on your work, family or social life? If so, what level of commitment is realistic and sustainable in order to achieve your goal?
2. Get professional help
Whether your resolution is to give up smoking, run a marathon, lose weight or learn to play a musical instrument, it will be much easier to achieve with professional help. Help doesn’t have to be expensive and in some cases may even be free. The NHS provides a lot of information and resources on health related topics and you can always make an appointment with your GP if appropriate. Most professional personal trainers and tutors will be able to tailor their service to suit your budget and will often sit down to talk through your options for free.
3. Be specific
You’ve decided on your resolution, you’ve made sure it’s realistic and you’ve spoken to a professional to get some expert advice….but what exactly is it you’re trying to achieve? If your goal is to lose weight, how much? If your goal is to learn a musical instrument, which one and how good do you want to get? If you want to give up smoking, are you going to go cold turkey or systematically reduce your consumption? The only way to know if you have succeeded in keeping your new year resolution is to make sure you know when it has been achieved.
4. Give yourself a time limit
In a similar vein to being specific, you also need to give yourself a time limit. Human nature dictates that without a deadline, we have no incentive to get things done and a task that should take a day will actually take weeks or months. So now you have your specific new year resolution, decide when you want to achieve it by – once again it is important to be realistic. In some cases this will be obvious, for example if you want to run the London Marathon in 2016 then you have a pretty concrete deadline. However if you want to lose “X” amount of weight, then decide on a time limit and stick to it.
5. Do something for a reason
We’ve all done it, picked a new year resolution because it sounds cool, it’s the latest fad or because it feels like the right thing to do, but did we keep it? If you want to stick to your resolution, then pick something that means something to you. Think about why you’re doing it and what your motivation is. It’s also much easier to muster support from family and friends if you can explain to them why this means so much to you. Your motivation may be focused on yourself and your own well being, or it could be the impact it will have on your family and friends. We usually find it much easier to let ourselves down than our loved ones, so try and think about how sticking to your resolution will benefit them.
If you have any health and fitness related resolutions you'd like help with, please contact us for a completely free chat with no obligations.