Remember Your New Year Resolution? Here Are 5 Tips To Help You Keep It
Making New Year Resolutions is easy. Keeping them is more difficult. Here are five tips to help you achieve your goals in 2017.
People often make resolutions in January to lead healthier lives. These will include promises such as, “eat healthier”, “exercise more”, and “quit smoking”. But after just a few short weeks, the commitment fades, and they’re back to their old, unhealthy habits.
Sure, maintaining a long-term goal can be difficult, but you don’t have to give up!
Below are five tips which can help you build new habits to maintain your resolve and achieve your 2017 health and fitness goals.
1. Write it down and record your progress
In Mini-Habits, author Steven Guise suggests the easiest way to avoid skipping a habit you’re trying to build is to write down what you’re trying to achieve. Science has shown that when you write something down, it’s given a stronger presence in your mind, as if your brain sees you committing something to paper and instantly understands, “this must be important.” Don’t worry, if you’re not a fan of paper, this also works if you use an electronic journal or app.
Once it’s written down, put your list of goals somewhere that you’ll see it every day. This will serve as an ongoing reminder of what you’re trying to achieve. And don’t forget to record your progress: if your goal is to exercise more, then keep track of every day you make it to the gym. Remember the old saying, “what gets measured, gets done.”
2. Break down your goals into smaller goals
When you set a big goal for yourself, getting started can be especially daunting. But procrastinating isn’t going to help you achieve your objective.
In The Now Habit, author Neil Fiore suggests that instead of focusing on the big task, you should slice it into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks that will be easier to begin immediately. Want to lose 50lbs this year? That’s a big goal that can be intimidating; instead, focus on losing one pound per week, and doing that for fifty weeks. The bonus to this approach? You can celebrate each small win along the way, boosting your confidence as you work towards your larger goal, one small step at a time.
3. Build your confidence by thinking of past wins
It’s inevitable: sometimes you’re going to struggle with motivation. You promised yourself you would go to the gym every morning, but you were out late last night with friends and now you’re extra tired.
Author Caroline Webb says you can look to your past wins for inspiration and motivation. In
How to Have a Good Day, she suggests that turning to positive thoughts during challenging times is a sure way to boost your energy. If you’re dreading going to the gym, take a moment to remember the last time you went, and how good you felt after knowing you had successfully completed a workout. Remembering that feeling might just be the extra boost you need to proceed.
4. Make your goals known
In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, social psychologist Robert Cialdini describes how people have a near-obsession with being and appearing consistent in their words and actions. He cites an example of how a juror in a court of law is unlikely to change his opinion once it’s been openly stated.
When trying to build or maintain a new habit, you can use this natural desire for consistency to your benefit. If your goal is to eat healthier, for example, then when you go out to dinner with friends, announce your new habit to the group before everyone orders. This way, you’ll be more likely to order something healthy (and more likely to skip dessert) because that would be consistent with what you said.
5. Be aware of your personal triggers
When you’re trying to build or maintain a new habit, your old routines can work against you. In Nudge, authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein tell us how sometimes we make bad decisions simply because we act routinely, without thinking.
If you’ve eaten an unhealthy snack while watching television every night for the last few years, then there’s a high chance that you’ll find yourself in front of the refrigerator automatically at the end of the day.
One way to break old habits is to stop and think before you take any action. If you find yourself walking to the fridge, ask yourself why? Do you really need this snack? Don’t allow your autopilot to kick in until you’ve had a chance to reprogram it for your benefit.
You have what it takes to succeed with your New Year Resolutions! The five tips outlined above can help you build and maintain better habits, achieve your health and fitness goals, and lead to a better you in 2017.