So it’s one month into the New Year, and for those who follow my column regularly, I’ve decided to go back to this topic.
But first, hands up if you have honestly stuck diligently to every resolution you made a few weeks ago. Yes, I expected that number to be in the single digits!
This time I won’t dwell on why your resolutions haven’t lasted, but instead help you keep them. It’s still early days and the perfect time to get things back on track. I feel the beginning of the New Year brings a lot of changes, and taking up challenging resolutions can be either extremely difficult or easily breakable. I wrote that article stating all the reasons why you shouldn’t begin your resolutions right away. Having said that, it’s just over a month into 2014 and we have all settled in our routines. So let’s talk about how you can stick to your resolutions and achieve the most positive results.
Public promise: Try and involve everyone around you in your plans. At some point you may forget or retract your decision, but true friends and close family may not let that happen. After all, you don’t want to be embarrassed if you don’t achieve your goal.
Jump start the day: Wake up a little earlier than usual and use the time for to hit the gym, for a run or even yoga. Don’t cave into weakness with thoughts like ‘I am lazy, this is too difficult’ or ‘I am tired.’ Make sure you give it an honest try. Even if you aren’t an early riser, make the little effort, start your work an hour earlier and wrap-up work sooner to exercise in the evenings.
Discipline: Prove to yourself that you are capable of small acts of discipline. You can, for example, maintain a Task Log that syncs your work calendar along with your diet and exercise regime.
Manage the new changed routine and fit in your day. This will keep you prepared well in advance to keep up to the routine. Follow this log until you have created a habit out of it and what was once a painful change will just become the new normal.
Find a partner: I don’t mean a potential bride or groom but someone with the same honest intention to accomplish their resolution. It’s a give and take relationship; they push you through training, healthy eating, motivate you to keep going on you push back. When you have company (or competition) the task starts to look easy. It could be a friend or a trainer or even your better half.
Visualisation: Begin to visualise the end product from the very beginning. If you can train your brain to see the result, you will be able to work towards it better. If you can’t imagine yourself fitter you can never become fitter. If you want, buy that smaller size of jeans now, hang them up, and picture yourself in them!
Jump Hurdles: If you come across a bump, move past it and just soldier on. Don’t let one bad meal or four days of a friend’s wedding ruin your resolution. No one said it will be easy or perfect but you can overcome it. The hurdle could even be within five days of starting your regime but don’t step back because you strayed on occasion. Get your act together and bring yourself back on track.
Accountability: Find a way to report your success and failures daily or weekly. You could be accountable to the partner I talked about above, to another friend, your trainer or your nutritionist.
Reporting your actions will keep you committed to your goals.
Resolutions are tricky. They can either make you a changed person or de-motivate you because you’re not getting anywhere with them. But you must persevere, because otherwise they will just be empty promises you make to yourself. Begin the resolution with a promise to at least be on it for 30 days. Is that enough? No, but it’s a beginning. Then, when the 30 days are done, make another 30-day resolution. Then one more, and so forth. If your efforts are mostly sincere the results will encourage you to carry on.
Baby steps! Stay healthy!