Ah, new year’s resolutions, we make them with the best intentions, only to break them within a few days. Why are new year’s resolutions so hard to stick to? And what can we do to actually keep our resolutions next year?
Why Are New Year’s Resolutions Hard to Stick To?
When making a new year’s resolution, it is not as planned out as other forms of goal setting. Most people will be quite vague about their new year’s resolutions:
- I want to lose weight
- I want to save money
- I want to quit smoking
- I want to learn French
This is the first step of goal setting, figuring out what the desired end result is. But where most people go wrong when setting a new year’s resolution is this is where they stop.
The next part of goal setting is further defining the goal, for example:
- 1 want to lose 3 stone
- I want to save up £2,000 for a holiday
- I want to reduce my smoking throughout the year and be completely smoke-free in October, November, and December
- I want to be able to order a meal in French when we go to Paris in November
You need to know what success will look like; otherwise, you’re just working towards a goal without a clearly defined endpoint.
The next step of goal setting is to create a game plan for how you will achieve the goal. What kind of things will you do to help your chances? Are you going to hire a personal trainer for your weight loss journey, or will you focus on just eating better and doing home workouts?
Now instead of your goal being, “I want to lose weight”, it is “I want to lose 3 stone this year. I will do this by learning to cook healthy meals and hiring a personal trainer to help me work out.”
How to Stay on Track For Your New Year’s Resolutions?
Set a Daily Habit
The best way to stay on track for your new year’s resolution is to break it down into a daily habit. For the weight loss goal, it could be doing some kind of workout every day or cooking a healthy dinner every day. For the savings goal, it could be bringing your lunch instead of buying it every day or getting coffee from the free machine at work instead of popping into Nero on the way to work.
This daily habit may change a little as the year goes on. Your daily habit might start off as a half an hour walk every day or some yoga, and then midway through the year, you might be visiting the gym or going jogging. Set your daily habits at the start of the month so you can make them gradually more difficult or react to things that you found difficult the previous month.
Set Mini-Goals to Measure Progress
Your goal of losing 3 stone should be broken down into mini-goals to help measure your progress as you go. If your goal is weight loss, this may mean a monthly weigh-in where you aim to lose half a stone. You can even set yourself related but different challenges throughout the year to keep things fun. This could be something like a goal to run a 10km in August or a shopping trip halfway through the year to buy a dress for your new size. You might even challenge yourself to host a healthy dinner party with some friends and have enough delicious and satisfying recipes in your repertoire to cook a number of dishes for them.
Gradually Increase the Difficulty
One of the major reasons people struggle to stick with their New Year’s Resolutions is because they try to go too hard too fast. They hit the gym and start doing hour-long heavy weight lifting sessions instead of gradually working up to that. Start off with something that is attainable in order to get into the habit. Then gradually increase the difficulty every few weeks or every month. Remember, you have a whole year to reach your goal.