5 top tips on how to keep your New Year’s resolution
With January around the corner, it’s that time of year when people start making their New Year’s resolutions. Although sayings such as “new year, new me” start to circulate, in reality the majority of people will fail to achieve their resolutions.
However, making plans and affirmations is still a great idea. In fact, according to data from Finder, this year over half of Brits (54 per cent) will have set themselves a New Year’s resolution. They also found that a quarter of these resolutions were health-focused, with money (21 per cent) and family (19 per cent) following in second and third place.
With health and wellbeing trending this year, it is very likely that the long-standing resolution of “go to the gym” or “get fit” will reappear in 2023. Yet, such broad resolutions make you more likely to slip-up when your motivation is lacking, and ultimately give up on your new resolution. Now slip-ups are completely normal, but if you specify and plan your New Year’s resolution, you are more likely to stay on top of it.
At Myles Wellbeing, we recognise the importance of having a health-related resolution, but also the struggle of finding the motivation to keep up your resolution for the year. So, we’ve come up with five tips on how to keep your New Year’s resolution last longer than January!
1. Assess your values
If you understand why you are setting your New Year’s resolution, you will be better at maintaining it. A good way to do this is assess what motivates you to keep up your goal for the year. Are you intrinsically motivated and so driven by internal rewards? Or are you extrinsically motivated and driven by external rewards? Intrinsically motivated New Year’s resolutions tend to last longer than external ones.
For example, if your resolution is to “lose one stone to get beach ready for the summer”, as soon as you reach this goal in July, your motivation will decrease for the second half of the year. This is because your resolution is driven by the external motivation of losing weight for a summer beach body; however, if your resolution is to “lose one stone by summer for a healthier body and heart”, your internal motivation of a better quality of life with motivate you to keep that weight off for the whole year, rather than putting it back on after your beach holiday.
2. Be concise
When you have assessed your motivations for your New Year’s goals, make sure you don’t have too many goals and aren’t too broad with them. For example, goals such as “lose weight” are unhelpful because the key to a successful resolution is to be precise. If you set your resolution as “lose two stone” you can keep on track of how your goal is going with planning and checking your monthly progress. Plus, if you focus on one goal at a time you will find that you are not overwhelmed and thus your motivation remains steady throughout the year.
3. Consider different resolutions
If every year your resolution is the same, such as giving up an indulgence or dropping a dress size, and you rarely reach your goal, it may be time to change up your New Year’s resolution. If you’re struggling to give something up, why don’t you try and do something more. For example, instead of “give up chocolate”, which only lasts two months, why don’t you “try to smile more” or “try to say thanks more”. If you implement smaller changes which have a positive impact– such as feeling happier and being more appreciative– your goal may just last longer.
4. Start small
If your goal is a more drastic change, for example “be able to run 10k”, when you can’t run a bath, start small and build up your new habit. If you’re wanting to try running, start with a similar outlook as the ‘Couch to 5K’. In such plans, you start with walking, increase it to jogging and then running, but only when you have built up your stamina from exercising for different distances and intervals. This is because it is unrealistic to be able to run even 5K or 10K if you don’t run regularly and so your motivation can wane. If you plan your goal, starting small, you will be more likely to stick it out for the whole year.
5. Get support
If your goal is challenging, and for example, breaks a life-long habit of smoking or vaping, don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends, family and external specialists. If you do slip-up, however, make sure you know that it is completely normal to do so, and so don’t let it stop you in your progress.
If your goal is exercise-related and you are a novice to the particular sport you want to try, find a friend who has experience within that sport or gym skill (such as weightlifting) who can help you out. When you go to the gym for the first time or go on your first run, you can sometimes feel a bit silly as it’s unnatural and, for example, in the former you may not know how to squat a particular weight or how to use some equipment. However, if you ask for support or even find a friend who will regularly do your new hobby with you, you will be more motivated to keep it up for the year.