Everyone is on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon right now. Just as much as resolutions get made, they also get criticised and joked about. Failed New Year’s resolutions are as common at this time of year as a hang over. But are there certain resolutions that are more often kept than others? Can you heed some of this advice to help you on your journey to keeping your resolution in 2018?
There are some behavioural things that we have learned from research and experience, that you can do when making commitments to yourself, that can help you to stick to them for longer, turning them into habits and getting longer term success.
The first tip is to add detail to your resolutions. If, for example, your resolution is to go to the gym more, or be more active, it’ll me more beneficial to say, ‘I will go to the gym four nights a week’. Further than this, it will be of greatest benefit to say ‘I will go every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:30pm’. There is concrete detail in there that gives you something to stick to. Make that commitment, because without it, there’s a hollowness that tends to be the downfall of so many. And without that commitment to a schedule in place already, we are likely to fill in that time with other commitments. Make the commitment, be specific about the frequency and lock in the time.
Goals that tie into something that already burns inside of us is a much better place to pin your resolutions to than, say, a commitment to something that you should do out of obligation. A common resolution is learning a new language, because people think it would be cool to be bilingual. Only those that really have that passion for language are likely to follow through on this. It’s similar to fitness — many people have always wanted to do a half-marathon, or compete in a bodybuilding show. Some have always wanted great abs, or to be a really strong person physically, and bench press, squat and deadlift a certain amount. Look inside for the specific thing that has always poked at you, and pin your goals to that long-term desire. A goal only to be fitter may not be grounded in enough of a foundation. Tie your fitness goals to something specific.
Tying our goals to other people can really drive us to achieve more as well. Letting ourselves down is often no biggie, when we have so many psychological mechanism that can help us to justify quitting on our resolutions or making other plans. But those little justifications tend not to work as well when we’re letting down other people. Some people look to lose weight for their kids — that’s often a powerful motivator. The other one is finding someone to share these goals with, like a training partner, a friend or a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. If you pull out of a training session tomorrow, you’re not just letting yourself down, but you’re letting down your training partner. Just having that pressure, can be the difference between you getting to the gym and you not making it. And if your partner flakes on you, keep looking till you find someone to go on this journey with you.
These little tips can make a big difference to your long-term adherence to your new goals. Remember, it doesn’t matter how you get to the gym or under what circumstances, as long as you get there, then half the battle is won.