With the turn of the new year, millions of people around the world make New Year’s Resolutions. So many of the resolutions we make are centred in some way around our health. This year I will… lose weight, get into shape, be more active, quit smoking, drink less, cut out junk food, start lifting weights, join a club, take up yoga, start running…
January is the month that so many people dedicate to “getting back on track”, whether that means cutting back on the indulgent food enjoyed over the holiday period or getting back into the gym. Many of us are feeling a little sluggish and our waistbands are feeling an inch tighter than a month ago. Although one of the important rules of getting into shape is to leave behind the “I’ll start tomorrow” attitude because it sets you up to keep failing, I am a firm believer that, if done the right way, you can use the start of the new year to really turn things around.
What is vital for being successful with your New Year’s Resolutions is that you are realistic when setting your goals. If the resolutions are not achievable with your individual means and time frame then you are merely setting yourself up to fail.
Part of creating achievable resolutions is giving yourself a realistic number of goals to work towards. Some people seem to write themselves page-long lists but the trouble with this is that they are likely to forget half of their goals a month into the year. There is little chance of being successful if you make 20+ separate resolutions; we live lives that are far too busy to deal with such a large number of issues at once. The other aspect of realistic aims is to make sure you are physically and mentally capable of fulfilling them. If you have two left feet then you are unlikely to win an advanced dancing championship by the end of the year, instead perhaps it would be better to simply make your goal to join a new dance class, and stick with it. It is all about knowing your own capabilities.
Now that your resolutions are realistic and achievable, it is important to think about how you will track your results. For example, if you want to lose/gain weight, decide on how much, and how quickly. Think about creating a document in order to chart your progress – not only will it allow you to monitor your success, it will also motivate you to keep going once you start to see the evidence on paper. If you want to start eating more healthily, consider planning out your meals weekly, it will help you to be organised with your grocery shopping but also help you steer away from unhealthy food choices made in a rush. Having some way of monitoring your goals will help to keep you on track throughout the year by holding you accountable, you can make it even more motivational by adding in rewards. Whenever you reach a certain milestone, be it weight loss/gain, miles ran, weeks of healthy eating, or yoga classes attended, you can give yourself a small reward in order to celebrate your progress. It’s a positive way of making it fun and staying motivated!
So push away any feelings of guilt about over indulgence or inactivity in the holidays and set yourself something positive to work towards over the next few months. I am a firm believer that we can do nearly anything we set our minds to, if we work hard enough. Good luck!