About half of all Canadians set New Year’s resolutions, but less than 10 percent are successful in achieving them. There are a number of reasons for this high level of failure – two key ones being that our goals are often unrealistic; and that we tend to adopt an all-or-nothing attitude to what constitutes success.
As an example, a goal of losing 25 pounds with or without a plan in place may be unrealistic, but a goal of losing just 10 lbs, with a proper plan in place to help you achieve your goal, may be much more achievable. Similarly, if one has a goal of losing 25 lbs but only loses 5 lbs, we often don’t see this as a positive step towards our goal, we only see failure – the 20 lbs we didn’t lose.
And so today, with Christmas almost here and just a couple of weeks left until 2016, I thought I’d share a few tips to help you set and achieve your New Year’s resolutions.
- Make realistic goals: Focus on goals that can be achieved and that will make a positive impact on your life.
- Develop an action plan: Outline the steps you will take to achieve your goal. Instead of just resolving to lose 10 pounds, create a plan that details the actionable steps you will take to achieve your goal.
- Share your resolution: Tell your friends and family about your goal and ask for their support in helping you achieve it. By sharing your resolutions publicly, you will hold yourself to account and may find yourself with a strong team ready to help you achieve it.
With goals and plans in place, motivation becomes critical to helping you put your plan into action day after day. These eight tips will help you stay on track:
- If you’re not enjoying the activities you’re doing, it’s time to change things up. Tired of running? Try swimming. Walking alone boring? Join a group.
- As the seasons change, try new activities. For example, during the summer months, give up one or two indoor workouts in order to play some tennis or to cycle outdoors. Likewise, if you aren’t able to enjoy tennis over the winter months, keep fit (and social) with group fitness classes at your gym or community centre.
- Determine if you’re better off exercising on your own or with others. Both have benefits and downsides. Do what suits you best.
- Make a commitment to fitness and health and write it down (it’s a contract you have with yourself). Review it often and remind yourself that you’re striving to be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself… not to mention a great role model for others.
- Create a catch phrase or word that you can repeat to yourself when you’re in danger of being sidetracked. I remind myself regularly that exercise isn’t a punishment, it’s a privilege. Think about how lucky you are to be healthy and strong enough to participate.
- Practice mental imagery. Picture yourself exercising, following through on your commitment to it, overcoming set-backs, and achieving success. This can help you overcome both mental and physical barriers in your way.
- Build a tough attitude. Don’t “think” you can do it…. “know” you can. Knowledge is power!
- Identify self-defeating thoughts, behaviours and patterns and develop a plan to overcome them. Believe in yourself and everyone else will too.
Above all, remember that every day offers an opportunity for a fresh start – so don’t get hung up on January 1!
Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season and an active 2016!