There is a substantial degree of contention around the efficacy and value of New Year’s Resolutions. Are they just a fad? Is there any point? How do you make yourself stick to them?

Personally, I feel that anything which acts a springboard for positive change is not something to be sneered at, regardless of whether or not it is a ‘fad’. If you want to use the New Year as an opportunity and motivation to sort your shit out – props to you! By the same token, you shouldn’t feel pressured into changing at this specific time if you’re not ready or willing to yet - you can’t shame yourself into genuinely positive change.

If you are one of the millions who are setting out on the ‘new year - new me’ path: here are some tips for sticking to it:

  1. START SMALL - Sometimes when we get excited about making a change, we go overboard with our expectations. For example, expecting to go to the gym 5 times a week when you don’t usually work out at all. Overshooting in goal-setting is detrimental to our success - not only are you less likely to meet this standard but the failure to do so can crumble your self-belief, motivation and therefore your likelihood to succeed. Instead of 5 times, vow to go twice, even once! This way you can be consistent with your progression and success.

  2. BELIEVE IN YOUR CAPABILITY - It sounds corny, but it’s a sociologically acknowledged phenomenon: ‘the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy’. Robert K. Merton coined this term in 1948 in reference to pupils’ achievements in class as a result of the teacher’s (and therefore their own) expectations. He found that children who believed in their capabilities achieved more: the same applies to us as adults. Whether you think you can or you can’t: you’re right.

  3. BE PRECISE - Goals like ‘get fit’ or ‘eat more healthily’ are so vague that you can’t really gauge what would constitute success. Set a precise goal which you can measure, such as going for a ten minute walk every morning/8 glasses of water a day/having at least 3 types of veg with dinner every night etc.

  4. SCHEDULE IT IN - If you just think ‘meh I’ll go for a walk at some point’ you’re probably going to procrastinate your life away watching funny cat videos until you decide it’s too late and will now have to wait ‘til the next day. Make a plan - write it down - don’t cancel on yourself.

  5. REMIND YOURSELF WHY - One of the key elements of success is motivation. Whatever your goal is, remind yourself why you’re doing it. If you want to go vegan - watch videos of cute farm animals to deter you from eating meat, if you want to lose fat/gain muscle, look to role models for inspiration to remind yourself of what you’re aiming towards.

  6. PRAISE YO-DAMN-SELF - Every time you reach a goal, every time you show up, every time you take a step in the right direction. Praising or loving yourself at every step of the journey isn’t synonymous with being a narcissist, it’s just a necessary step of being happy and successful. Developing positive habits doesn’t have to be painful - enjoy the process and be kind to yourself.

Fliss HolmesComment