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:
Try the challenge and get inspired by our 15 ways to move throughout your day
I am trying to challenge your beliefs as well as your activity levels. Read on to find out more.
A lot of my clients believe that physical activity only counts if it is either of a certain length of time, intensity or in some way structured. Believe me, this is not true. Every bit of movement you do will add to your health, fitness and mental well being.
When it comes to exercise, everything counts.
If you believe that only certain types of movement count as exercise you will always have an excuse not to do it. No time, no energy, no space, no gym membership…..
Don’t have time? Think again. If you have a minute, you have time.
No space? Your office or kitchen will do.
Challenge your brain to think differently and feel good about every little bit of movement you do. If you do structured exercise and you enjoy it, keep going. It doesn't mean you can't fit in little extra bits during the day though. If you struggle with formal exercise, just start looking at movement in this new way. Everything counts and you can give yourself credit for the smallest and shortest bit of movement. We are all individuals and different types of movement will feel right for different people. What matters is that we move. In whatever way feels good to you.
So here's my challenge for you:
Here are some ideas (inspired by Michelle Segar's brilliant book: No sweat) to get you started:
1. Take the long cut
Don’t walk the shortest route to your destination. Add a little detour and walk through the park,
or explore some streets you don’t know yet.
2. Walk whilst your on the phone
Turn this one into a habit. Always move around when you are on the phone. Up and down the stairs, in circles or whatever takes your fancy.
3. Be active when you are waiting for your children doing their clubs and classes
Instead of sitting around and waiting, get active yourself. Go for a walk, swim or do whatever works for you.
4. Add some active minutes into your work day
Set a timer at your desk and walk up and down the stairs, meet a colleague or just get some fresh air for a few minutes.
5. Meet a friend for a walk rather than a coffee/meal etc.
You could still have a coffee to go....
6. Dance to your favourite tune
Yep, just like in the good old days.
7. Walk during your lunch break
Have your lunch on a park bench or some other pretty outdoor spot.
8. Be active as a family
Schedule some family activities into your weekends. Walking and cycling are the obvious ones but there are lots of other things out there. Try something new like family parkour, roller skating or climbing. Maybe there is something you used to enjoy as a child?
9. Take some active me time
Choose an activity you like and gift it to yourself. Me-time doesn’t have to be about lying on the sofa or attending a day-spa.
10. Date night?
Why not walk to the restaurant, cinema etc
11. Get off the bus early
...or park further away.
12. Have a walking Meeting
Suggest to your colleagues to have a walking meeting. It will benefit everybody and you’ll be surprised how much more productive these can be.
13. Take the stairs
This is not exactly new advice but it works. Skip the lift or escalators and walk instead.
14. Do some housework... or gardening
I have found that looking at housework in this new way (it’s an opportunity to move!) makes me feel less resistant towards it.
15. Do a one minute workout, anything you like
Run on the spot, do some squats or jumping jacks, wiggle your toes....
You'll find the more you move, the more your body will ask for it and you'll automatically start fitting in extra physical activity every day.
Opportunities to move
Deciding to believe that everything counts can be the beginning of building consistent daily movement that you can immediately benefit from.
Remember, opportunities to move are YOUR choices. Anything and everything counts. Choose the ones you enjoy most. You are a lot more likely to repeat an activity if it is enjoyable.
Try and look at these opportunities as special times, gift yourself those moments.
If you are in Edinburgh and are looking for some help with losing weight or getting fitter, or even just looking for a new fitness class, we offer friendly outdoor boot camps and personal training for women.
Download our free Healthy Habits Tick Sheet and start changing your life today.
Simply fill in this sheet by ticking off your new healthy habit every day. Aim for a streak - challenge yourself to keep it going.
Need some inspiration? Check out our Healthy Habits Menu and get started.
Don’t want to go it alone?
Book your free 1 hour consultation with Julia McCabe, Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach.
Contact us or email Julia directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
If diets worked, most of us would be super slim. After all, most of us have been on several diets. Sure, they may work short term. You’re desperate to lose that weight, go to extremes, and are pleased when the pounds start to shed. However, when you start looking at long term success rates, it’s a totally different story: Long term failure rate for dieters is 80% -95%, depending which study you read. (We don't know the exact number but researchers have concluded* that there is no evidence that dieting works in the long run)
I’d also like you to remember that diet companies make their money of failure, not success. The more people ‘fail’ (and put the weight back on), and then return to that company, the more money it makes. What nobody points out is that it is not you who is failing, but the diet. If you can’t keep the weight off, the diet hasn’t worked. Don’t blame yourself or lack of willpower. It's the diet, not the dieter that is the problem. So, let’s correct what I said above: Long term failure rates for DIETS is 80-95%
What are the reasons for such a high failure rate?
So, if diets don’t work, what does?
Luckily, there are some strategies that are proven to work:
Sounds boring? Well, it probably is. At least it’s not as exciting as the latest celebrity diet. It’s not easy, but it works. To be successful and create healthy habits that last a lifetime, it is vital to implement changes in four different areas of your life: nutrition, exercise, mindset and lifestyle.
The next time you hear about the latest diet craze, ask yourself: ‘Can I see myself doing this in two or three years time?' or 'Would I recommend this to my teenage daughter?’
If the answer is ‘no’, then don’t do it. Give the strategies above a go instead.
Don’t want to go it alone?
Book your free 1hour consultation with Julia McCabe, Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach.
Contact us or email Julia directly: email@example.com
* "We asked what evidence is there that dieting works in the longterm, and found that the evidence shows the opposite" Janet Tomiyama, co-author of the study
Becoming a fitter and happier person is all about developing healthy habits. If we can eat well and exercise habitually, we are on route to a permanent healthy lifestyle. Good bye Yo-Yo dieting.
A behaviour turns into a habit when we do it automatically without having to think about it. Many books have been written about habit development and I highly recommend reading Charles Duhigg's The power of habits. It's a great read. For now have a look at our Healthy Habit Menu for inspiration and follow our rules below to make your new habit a success:
1. Choose a habit that is really easy to do. you must be 80-90% confident that you can stick with it.
2. Work on one habit at a time. Research shows that overloading ourselves with change is less likely to be sucessful.
3. Keep track of your new habit and be accountable. There are many habit building apps that can help you with this (Habit List, Habit Bull, etc).You can also just use use good old pen and paper and a friend as a habit buddy.
4. Set a reminder or cue to get you started with your habit. Habits follow a cue or trigger. This can be simple thing like brushing your teeth, having a cup of coffee or an actual reminder on your phone. An example for this is: After I brush my teeth I meditate for 2 minutes.
5. Reward yourself. Our brain likes doing things we feel good about so reward yourself after completing a new habit. This can just be the endorphins you feel after exercising or you tell yourself 'Well done. You progressed." Just try not to make your reward food based, e.g. a piece of cake !
Choose a new habit from our Healthy Habit Menu and get started today!
My name is Julia and I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach in Edinburgh.