Friday, 3 January 2020

Should we set New Year Resolutions: Are there alternatives?

Image result for targets and goals

According to research and statistics:

  • By the second week of February, over 80% of New Year Resolutions have been abandoned.
  • 88% of resolutions fail, even though over half of those people were confident they would succeed.
  • Over 25% of people give up within seven days.
  • 92% of people do not follow through on their targets.
So why do we fail, and can we do anything about it?

  1. Your goals are not specific.   "I want to be healthier" - is a great goal, but very vague. Your brain is much better at responding to specifics. It is much better to gave goals that will accomplish the "healthier" goals. They can be around physical activity, regarding nutrition, or even your daily routine. Create actual targets that your brain can recognise.
  2. You do not have accountability.   HMHB organises two current fitness sessions a week. Why do people enjoy coming? They could do everything we do in them at home. We deliberately create the exercise that can be done without leaving the house/flat.  The reason it works is that you have people around you supporting you, encouraging you, inspiring you.  Make sure others around you know your targets and goals, and also support you in that aim. Remove negativity. Even write something down. If your aim it to walk 5000 steps a day, keep a record, and show it to people. Put things online if you use social media. Find a friend to meet with. Our walks are also a success because we create a great atmosphere.
  3. You lose your focus.   This is so easy. You start out with such determination. But most resolutions mean you have to keep going for weeks, months, even years. It is easy to get distracted and allow life to butt its way in, for situations to overwhelm you.  According to research - 23% of people just forget all about their resolutions.  Apparently, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down where you will see them regularly. Build the changes you make into your daily routine so they become a habit. And, as before, get other people involved.
  4. Does your environment allow you to reach the goal?   You may want to give up sugar, but someone you live with keeps buying sweet treats. You may want to meditate a bit more, thinking of mindfulness, but people around you mock you for trying.Maybe you are trying to say No a but more, but others around you keep inviting you to things you don't really want to do.  Obviously, like we have already said, tell people around you that your targets are very important to you, and that you ask them to respect that. Change your environment. Get outdoors more, look at local groups that you may enjoy. This subject is very much your choice and responsibility. How bad do you want to succeed??
  5. How important is it to you?  That is a great question. You may decide to lose weight, or give up smoking or drinking, get fitter, or improve your daily routine.  All these are fantastic ideas, and we all should be looking at ways we can constantly make small changes. But you will not lose weight if you wont give up snacking on biscuits and cakes, and then not exercise more. The magic pill does not exist. You need to motivate yourself. Identify what you want, and why it is important to you. "I want to lose weight so I stay healthier and live longer for my family". Have an end reason. Focus on that. " I want to give up smoking as I know the odds are I will die of a smoking related disease"
  6. You want quick results, but it takes time.  We live in an age when we hate waiting for things to happen. You send an email, and want a reply. You send a text and are annoyed if you do not get one back within ten minutes. I recall writing letters and waiting for replies!! Lol.  A lot of people underestimate how long things will take and get impatient. The idea is exciting, but they do not want the effort and time it will take. Losing weight for example needs to maintained over a period of time. We give up too quickly once we realise the reality of the situation.  Maybe create an action plan. Instead of thinking you need to lose one stone for example,  see that as fourteen pounds, and set yourself one pound a week. Then each week you succeed. It feels obtainable. And if you don't succeed that week, well the next week is straight away and you can get back on it. Set realistic goals as well as time scales for what you want to do.
So maybe don't set resolutions - maybe set a theme or goals around a theme.
Instead of saying I will be healthier, look at ways you would like to make changes. This is about self-reflection. Only change what isn't working, and make small changes.
You may say you need to eat more vegetables. So instantly you decide to change to four pieces a day from one or none. That is hard. Change to one a day. When comfortable move that to two. Etc.
For exercise, do not immediately go from none or little to an hour or more. You will be knackered, your body will not like it, and you will probably give up.  Change to just 10 minutes a day, and walk more. Then up that to 20 minutes etc. You will soon see a difference.
Be Patient - things take time. Losing weight will not mean seeing instant changes in the mirror. Being fitter will not mean more muscles. Etc. Take time.
Remember - we are all different. You may work out with a friend and notice they change quicker than you. They have more energy and can do more. That does not mean you are not as good, or they are better. We all have different bodies. Just look after your own targets, do not compare with others.

Finally, look after your mental health too. Many of our problems are created in the mind. If we are overweight we think people are looking at us, or judging us. If you do not solve problems as quickly as others you may feel stupid. Do not allow situations or thoughts to overwhelm you. If you cannot control a situation let it ride its course. But also, seek help if you feel you need it. Do not isolate yourself or punish yourself. Life is too short.

Good luck in whatever you decide. Even when you do not feel motivated, keep pushing yourself. Be proactive. There is no guarantee that things will turn out great, but there is no way they will if you do not try. Failure is part of life. Embrace it, but also learn from it.  Hugs.

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