With the new year already a week underway, the daunting reality of actually completing all those optimistic resolutions we made for ourselves at the end of 2015 is likely to be settling in. Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist surveyed 3,000 people and discovered that 88% of them failed to complete their new year’s resolutions. Not a very comforting statistic, is it? So, how exactly do we complete our resolutions? Perhaps there needs to be a shift in how we are thinking about our goals. Instead of viewing healthier eating or more exercise as finite objectives, would it not be better to perceive them as habits we want to develop? As I am sure most of you already know, habits are hard to break into. But lasting change is absolutely possible as long as you set yourself up for success. Here are few ideas on how to do that:
Although 2016 may seem like the perfect time to start meditating daily, attend cycling class five days a week, AND become a marathon runner, you may be in over your head. You will do yourself a favor if you pick one of these goals and make it as specific as possible. Also, it is important to identify your starting point in addition to your finish line. Perhaps you already hop on the saddle once a week—why not plan to go twice a week throughout January? Although a two days/week exercise routine doesn’t sound as glamorous as five days, remember, habits take time to develop. Once your body starts craving that second day of exercise to maintain sanity, you can start experimenting with three days, and then four days, and maybe after a few months you will cycle five days in a row and decide that four is actually an amount better suited for your lifestyle. Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are your new year’s resolutions.
Get Support from Others
There is nothing more valuable than a friend who loves you enough to give you a good kick in the ass. Saying no to all of your co-workers begging you to grab a cold beer with them after work is over so that you can say yes to cycling in the evening will be incredibly difficult unless you have a friend to keep you accountable. This is why it is important to enlist a few people you trust to stand by your side as you work towards change. This is also why we are asking you to team up with two-three other people for our Higher Power Resolution Challenge! It is always easy to get away with eating your dessert when you know no one is watching but it is 10 times more difficult when your best friend or partner is hiding all of the cookies from you.
Be Patient with Yourself
This can sometimes be the hardest part of the challenge. If it is only week one of the year and you have already skipped going to the gym a few days, do not quit! The game is not over until you pull the plug. Ask yourself, what is preventing me from achieving my goals? Perhaps you created too many goals for yourself or your goal fails to fit into your current routine. Try scaling back a little and re-framing your intentions. If you are finding that the thought of exercise after work is absolutely exhausting, try practicing in the morning before work or hit the gym on the weekend. Just make sure that the goal you set for yourself is realistic for your schedule and your lifestyle.