Through the years we’ve all made new year’s resolutions that we can’t keep.
“Lose 10 pounds,” “stop smoking,” & “cut the carbs” are popular choices, but by the time March rolls around those resolutions are all but forgotten.
And yet, every time a new year rolls around we get a new boost of hope, thinking “this year will be different…” When in reality we end up right back where we were before- or worse!
So what gives?
Why do we set ourselves up to repeat the same failures, year after year?
There are a few factors at play.
Here are 3 little-known secrets to making new year’s resolutions that actually stick:
First, it’s more than likely that you’re setting your sights too high.
Habits are stubborn buggers and like the idea of change even less than analogue technology companies.
If you want to improve your lifestyle in some way, you’re going to have to trick your brain into thinking that change is easier than it is, and that means you’re going to have to start by making teeny-tiny changes, one at a time, as you work toward a long-term plan.
So instead of stopping smoking cold-turkey, for example, try cutting down by 1 cigarette per day each week.
Sure, it might take longer than you’d like, but at least you’ll be less likely to rebound back into your bad habit when things get tough.
The next thing to shift is your focus.
If you want any chance at making a resolution last, you’ve got to focus on the inside consequences instead of the outside consequences.
For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds that’s all well and good (assuming you’re overweight), but chances are you’re going to give up after 5 pounds, and then it’s likely that you’re going to go right back to the way things were, possibly even gaining more weight than you had set out to lose.
Instead of focusing on the external (i.e. what you look like,) shift your focus to the internal (i.e. what you feel like).
If you start doing things that have been proven to make you feel better, like walking more, joining an adult soft-ball league, increasing how much you sleep, or eating vegetables at every single meal, the numbers on the scale will naturally veer toward a healthier digit.
Third, give yourself a time-limit.
This last strategy is kind of a combination of the previous two, but I think it’s important enough to include on it’s own in this list.
Instead of making a New Year’s resolution for the rest of the year, try it on for size for 30 days and see how it feels.
For example, chances are that unless you discover a real food intolerance or allergy, you’re not going to want to cut out an entire food group for the rest of the year. Or maybe you think that you’d like go the gym three days a week, but after a month you realize that the gym environment really isn’t for you.
Instead of declaring that you’re going to do something that you think is going to make you feel better for the rest of the year, do a 30 day experiment and then re-evaluate.
So if you want to cut carbs, do a 30 day grain-free diet and see how you feel. If you feel awesome by the end of the 30 days, keep your carb consumption low. If you don’t feel much of a difference, try something else for 30 days and see if that makes you feel better.
When you give yourself a time-limit you’re more likely to stick to your resolution until the time is up, and you then have the chance to switch things up in a more positive direction if they don’t end up working for you as well as you thought they would.
If you want to make a resolution that actually sticks, take small steps, focus on what makes you feel good, and give yourself a time-limit for each resolution so you can experiment and make the changes that really work for you in the long-term.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
Have you ever made a resolution that you actually stuck to? What was different about this resolution? Why do you think it worked?
And if you’ve never been able to follow through on a resolution, what do you think you can do to improve your chances of success?
Leave a comment in the comments section below and share your new year’s resolution stories!
Until next time,
Love, Hugs, Sparklers and Glow Sticks,