I’ll begin this with: I don’t like new year's resolutions (NYR’s), I don’t see why we all need to suddenly change our lives right at the start of a new year. We are all going on our own path, so we should all have our own timeline, specifically start time. What suits me probably won’t suit you. I really think NYR’s are a way for influencers and the likes to promote their diet pills or detox teas, almost a modern-day Hallmark holiday. However, I won’t disregard how motivating NYR’s can be for some people. The motivation of hundreds and thousands of people embarking on their journey to self-improvement on 1st January may have had me consider taking up running (just consider, you won’t ever see me running the roads).
If you are taking the New Year as an opportunity to make positive changes to your life, then I applaud you. Making significant life changes is considerable, but maintaining these changes is the difficult part. The average resolution is given up 3 months in. I will offer a few nuggets of information that I hope will help you on this journey and to help maintain these positive changes.
· Do you really believe in your NYR? There is a certain pressure around New Year to be seen to be losing weight and changing your diet etc, but if you’re happy and healthy, do you really need to change? Granted, self-improvement is always important, but if you feel pressurised into making resolutions, maybe you should give it a miss. If your resolutions don’t quite align with who you are, your situation, and your values, chances are you’ll give up at some stage. Maybe consider taking a closer look at your NYR, does it match you and what you stand for?
· If you don’t want to make resolutions, then don’t. Don’t feel pressurised by the New Year’s bandwagon and “new year, new me,” do what suits you.
· Chunk it. Significant lifestyle changes are just that, significant. Even for less considerable resolutions, breaking them into smaller more achievable chunks will make it less daunting to pursue them.
· Do you need help? Sometimes you may need a helping hand and there is zero shame in that. Call in the assistance of a teammate or family member. If you have the available resources invest in the expertise of those that can help – whether that be a personal trainer, nutritionist or psychotherapist.
· Track your progress. It can be really difficult to accurately assess and judge how far you’ve come when you have no starting point for your progress. Take progress pictures, write down your total shots taken and shots made, miles ran, whatever works for you. Compare your starting point with various time points throughout the year to see your progression!
· Be kind to yourself. If your progress isn’t where you expect it to be at a certain point, don’t berate yourself for where you are, but look to change your goal slightly. You may have been slightly ambitious, or you may have other things going in your life that are diverting your attention. So adjust, and keep going.
· Focus on what to do, rather than what not to do. There is a certain level of intrigue and allure to the restricted and unauthorised, think of the big red button saying ‘do not touch.’ If we construct our resolutions to focus on what we want to achieve, we’re less likely to be swayed by the prohibited. Consider changing “don’t eat any chocolate,” to “eat a varied and nutritious diet.”
· You’re only lying to yourself. If you’re not fully truthful or honest about your progress, you’re only hurting yourself. If you record that you have a 90% free throw percentage rather than a more accurate 40%, the only person you’re going to affect is yourself.
I hope that you find a series of goals that excite you and keep you enthused on your journey to accomplish them. I hope that you are kind to yourself and adjust or reconfigure them should you discover they are just a little bit too difficult to achieve. It won’t be easy, but it all will be worthwhile. Best of luck and happy new year!