New years resolutions. Who needs them, eh? If you get my newsletter you’ll know the numbers on people who keep them… and they’re not great. In fact they’re lower than a chav’s belt-line. (Pull your jeans up, son. We don’t want to see that…)
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So why do we do it? Why make a resolution if so few of us will actually see it through?
Before I go any further, let me tell you a little story which might help give you that much needed shot in the arm if you’ve just pledged to make this year “the one.”
I have a client who started with me just 3 weeks before Christmas. She made this resolution a little early, and wanted to get a jump start.
She’s been amazing. She’s done exactly what she’s been told and completely overhauled the way she eats, and started being more active. And now the interesting bit…
This client has major knee problems. They often “go” on her, and it’s very difficult for her to be active… Especially in the snowy, icy conditions we’ve had to deal with over the last month.
But she does it any way.
She’s made that resolution, and she’s doing whatever it takes… even though it’s genuinely painful for her at times. She has actual genuine adversity to overcome.
Over the past month she’s lost over half a stone, and that’s despite this time including the Christmas period where most Britons gain up to 5lbs. And as she’s learned to use the right muscles when she walks and supports herself, she was telling me she’s drastically reduced the amount of times her knees have decided they’re having none of it. And this is only in 3 weeks!
But after all that… that’s not even the best bit!
She also told me the other day that she got to tell her GP where to stick them when he suggested she get back on anti-depressants because now she’s eating well and exercising properly… she doesn’t need them any more!
Like I said. Amazing.
You see, New Years Resolutions don’t have to be doomed from the get-go. After all, making that initial commitment is the first step. It’s the steps that follow that normally end up with people falling arse over tit and in my experience, that’s because in all our enthusiasm we tend to take the wrong ones.
So how do you get on the right path and stay there? Here’s how…
- Set definite goals.Don’t be flaky about this, the one thing that will come back and bite you on the arse is a fluffy, non-specific goal. If you want to lose 10lbs, set the goal to lose 10lbs – not “lose some weight”! When you’re working towards something, you need to know what it is you’re heading for so every step you take is a step closer and not just a step somewhere into the wilderness.
- Set small goals and work towards them one at a time.One of my favourite sayings is, “How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time” and I love it because people come to me all the time and when I ask their goal, they say, “I want to lose 5 stone”.
Thing is, 5 stone is a long way over the horizon. You won’t be able to see it from where you standing right now, so break it into smaller goals.
If you want to lose 5 stone (that’s 70lbs) set your goal to lose 10lbs first, and set it within a realistic time frame. Then when you’ve lost 10lbs, tick that goal off, and aim to lose another 10lbs.
This works in two ways. Firstly, you can see that goal and see with every pound you lose how much closer you are, whereas with a big goal, you lose 5lbs and you’ve still got to travel half way around the Earth to meet your goal. Secondly, you’ll be consistently reaching goals. Consistently achieving. And every achievement will spur you on to the next one.
- Follow a solid, proven plan.Don’t fumble around in the dark. Once you know exactly what your goal is, get together a step-by-step plan that is designed to match your goal.
- Take it one step at a time.The biggest reason people give up is because they have unrealistic expectations. They want big changes to happen yesterday. This is largely the fault of the media and dodgy TV programmes like the Biggest Loser (who’s, shall we say, less than ethical practices we discussed in a previous blog post), and some people will make big changes quickly.
But the important thing is not the size of the change, but that you consistently put one foot in front of the other. The fact is, the only thing that’s guaranteed not to work is giving up!
- Don’t go it alone.Make yourself accountable. Get support. Even if it’s as simple as posting on your Facebook page that you’re changing your lifestyle. You’re more likely to stick to something if you have support and you know other people are watching.
In one study, one group of people were accountable to a Personal Trainer, and the other group went it alone, and the group who were accountable had a success rate that was over 2,000 percent higher! And that was just by being in contact over the phone once per week!
So get other people involved. Even if it’s just telling everyone around the dinner table what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter how you become accountable or where you find that support, what matters is that you do.
Now, there’s a reason I didn’t post this up on New Years Day. I specifically wrote this a week later because it’s about now people are starting to think twice about sticking to their resolution. In fact, by the end of next week, half of the people who made their resolution will have given up.
Hopefully you’ll be in the half that doesn’t!
How are your resolutions going? Post a comment below.