Some people love them, most make them but not many of us manage to stick to them: New Year’s Resolutions. As many as 92% of New Year's Resolutions fail. Read on to find out why and what you can do to stick to your resolutions and make 2018 your year.
The most popular New Year's Resolutions in the UK are losing weight, getting fitter and eating more healthily, closely followed by a healthier work-life balance. Sounds familiar? Most of us have tried...
At the beginning of the year we are super motivated, we tell ourselves that this time it’s going to be different. We are excited and determined but somehow by the time February comes most of us have already reverted to our old ways. According to some statistics 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail by February and only 8% of us mange to stick to our resolutions long term. What's the problem with us? Lack of willpower? Not really.
There are lots of reasons why people don’t succeed but generally it comes down to one simple thing: We are too ambitious. We make it too hard for ourselves by:
a) setting too many resolutions (start running, reduce carbs AND do yoga 3 times a week)
b) making the task too difficult (exercise 6 days a week when you haven’t been moving for the last 4 years) or
c) setting all-or-nothing goals (I will eat no sugar whatsoever, if I eat a bar of chocolate I am a failure)
The way most people approach New Years Resolutions is by aiming for the stars, e.g. adapting the new perfect behaviour from day one. It’s great to have big goals and ambitions but all we are doing is setting ourselves up for failure. Research clearly shows us that to build a new habit we need to start small. You need to feel super confident that you can actually achieve your goal. I always ask my clients where they are on a confidence scale of 0-10 (10 being most confident and 0 not confident at all). You need to be about a 9 on that scale to succeed. That’s how easy it needs to be. Start small and increase your task bit by bit.
Here’s a summary of what you need to do to be successful in 2018 and stick to your New Years Resolutions (and the good news is it has little to do with willpower).
Let’s look at an example so show you how this approach can work.
Lisa really wants to lose some weight and get fit in 2018.
Small, incremental lifestyle changes are the way to go
The key to success is to make it easy. Keep making your tasks easier and easier until you can do them without feeling stressed out, deprived or unhappy. Review this regularly, keep adjusting your goals up or down and stick with it. Consistency is hugely important when building new habits. It’s much better to do little bits consistently than big things once a week… your brain learns by repetition.
Go on, give it a go and give me a shout if you get stuck!
More tips and tricks to keep you on track:
My name is Julia and I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach in Edinburgh.