Have you made any New Year resolutions this year? Going on past experience, how likely do you think it is that you will stick to them…? It’s a well known fact that most New Year resolutions do not last very long, in fact the average person will break theirs within just less than five weeks!
After the excesses of the Christmas period, so many people are full of good intentions, telling themselves that once the new year begins they are going to make some drastic changes in their lifestyle. Some of the more common New Year resolutions are to start a diet and lose weight, give up eating chocolate, stop drinking alcohol, quit smoking, go to the gym regularly, and most people start off feeling very optimistic, so where does it all go wrong?
One factor is that when we set ourselves unrealistic or difficult to maintain targets, like aiming to lose 14 lbs in a month, never eat chocolate or drink alcohol again, or go to the gym five times a week and work out strenuously, we are very likely to fail and then just go back to our old ways.
By setting more reasonable targets, and working towards your goals one manageable step at a time, you are much more likely to stay on track. Quick fixes don’t last, long-term realistic changes do. For example, think about aiming to drop around 2 lbs a week over two months until you reach your desired weight, and reward yourself at each step of the way. If you completely ban yourself from having something you enjoy, you are far more likely to crave it, so instead try limiting your intake of chocolate to an occasional small bar/couple of squares, and alcohol to an occasional glass of wine, so you don’t eventually give in to your craving and binge!
Another important factor is the battle between the conscious and subconscious parts of our minds. Although we consciously know all the reasons we would benefit from making what we know are positive changes, when we think about them in terms of giving up, going without, or how difficult it’s going to be, our subconscious mind is likely to fear that by depriving ourselves we will feel miserable, and then sabotage our good intentions.
To avoid this happening, it’s necessary to focus on all the benefits of the desired outcome…becoming slimmer, fitter, healthier, happier, more energised, more confident, more relaxed. You can reprogramme your subconscious mind by taking control of your thoughts, using your inner voice to talk to yourself positively, and spending some time each day visualising and imagining yourself having already reached your goals, looking and feeling the way you want to.
So this year, instead of setting yourself up to fail, try combining realistic goals and actions with taking control of your thoughts and feelings, and you may well find that you finally manage to stick to your New Year resolutions and achieve success.