New Year, New You? Or just another failed resolution?D
How many years have those things happened from January 1st?
The gym is joined, the healthy food is bought, it is great for a fortnight, and then it all gets overwhelming. Life is hectic, you can’t fit in an extra 3 hours a week to spend at the gym. If you’re doing the gym, then when do you have time to cook the healthy dinner? After that initial burst, it can all become far too much and fall apart.
Small tweaks lead to big changes
So, let’s step back. Did you pick up a novel and start reading one day? No, you started with picture books, you learnt a word here, a language rule there… you pieced together those blocks until you had the foundation to be able to read a novel.
Life is the same.
Going from no exercise to the gym three times a week is huge.
It isn’t just the exercise aspect:
You have to physically get to the gym — that is new.
You have to wash gym clothes — that is new.
You have to make time to go to the gym — that is new.
You have to remember that you may be tired/sore and need to allow extra time for other things — that is new.
That’s four new things straight away without even starting to exercise!
Now add in your new diet, going to bed at a sensible time, and stopping drinking.
Is it any surprise that most New Year’s Resolutions fail?
We need to rethink.
“New Year Resolution” makes us think of a life change promise to ourselves. Try thinking “New Year Goal”, and then treat it as such.
If you announce you have a goal and go running into it head first, again, it is hard to succeed. If you look at your goal and break it down into the parts that you need to achieve it, you can then work on each section progressively, build the foundation, and then you’re at your goal and barely notice it.
“I want to get fit” is vague. “I want to run 5km without stopping” is a tangible measurable goal.
One you have the specifics, you can break it down.
For things like the running, Couch to 5km programmes are great as they help you to build up in small stages, but you can do it yourself.
The most you walk is from the car park to the office? Start by parking further away. Build up the distance each day/every other day. Just one road at a time.
You don’t normally exercise and can’t fit in the time? Take 5 minutes. It doesn’t have to be 5 minutes exercising, it could be a relaxation breathing technique. As you see how 5 minutes can be added into your day, again, gradually build up. You now have 30–60 minutes that you didn’t realise you could create before — you can use that time for the exercise.
77% of people asked by 8fit.com say that they are more likely to stick to their goals if they are making one small change instead of a big one.
It is the same with any resolution.
Diet: Maybe start by reducing sugar intake? Maybe have one vegetarian meal a week? Do as Matthew’s family did and make a visual of whatever you are trying to change?
Alcohol — Drink only at weekends? Drink on dates divisible by 3? Gradually cut out different types of alcohol, begin with no whiskey, then no wine etc.
Be Kind, Rewind
Go easy on yourself. You miss a day? You slip up? Meh, life happens. Tomorrow is a new day.
You’re meant to be on x stage by now? Your stages are your stages, and they are purely guidelines. You’re finding the next stage too advanced, step back a bit. I do the Zombies Run couch to 5km, and you have no idea how many times I have listened to week 3. It doesn’t matter if I “should” have finished it 3 years ago, what matters is that I dust off the poor neglected trainers and try again.
Whatever goal you are aiming at, you will have a unique set of needs to achieve it.
Some people thrive on competition — if that’s you, find a friend to compete against. Find a club. Find a Reddit forum — there will be one somewhere for whatever you are wanting to achieve.
Other people hate knowing what they are aiming for because the fear of letting people down becomes more overwhelming than the actual task — if that’s you, don’t say anything to anyone. It isn’t compulsory to tell Facebook that you aren’t eating meat every Thursday so that you lose 5kg. Although 38% of people felt that having their partner on board to help keep them accountable was key — so maybe just tell one person who you trust not to judge regardless of what you do?
It is all about baby steps. Each stage is another word you can read, another grammar rule you understand. You will steadily move from picture books to novels, and forget what it was like before you could read.
It’s not about a resolution, but about evolution.
DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.