How’s That New Year’s Resolution Coming Along?
We’re a couple weeks into the New Year and by now many people will have embarked on their New Year’s Resolution for personal improvement. Some will be trying to lose some weight, others will have embarked on a program of fitness training to improve their physique, some will be tryingto quit smoking, while others will be working on some less stressful goal of personal improvement, like smile more often. Whatever your resolution, this post is intended to help you avoid being one of the 85% of people who give up on their resolution before they ever achieve it.
If you are one of the few people who made a New Year’s resolution…kudos to you. Making a resolution shows a commitment to self-improvement, which is commendable; we all have room for improvement.
First and foremost, realize that your resolution is a new habit and forming a new habit takes time, persistence and diligence. It takes time to program your brain to do things the new way, because it really wants to continue doing things the old way. I go into this in a bit more detail in my post titled:‘The habits that put us on the path to success’ at Rack Up Skills.
We live in the internet age where everyone expects and demands instant gratification to all their wants and needs. We want to see results now! As a result, we tend to go overboard in the enthusiasm department when we first embark on our new resolution. If our goal is to lose weight, we cut back on our calories so much that we starve ourselves, which is an almost sure way to defeat yourself.If our goal is to get fit, we start exercising like we are Rocky Balboa getting ready for the championship bout. By the end of the first week we are in a world of hurt.
The worst thing you can do is jump headfirst into some radically new way of living your life that causes you discomfort (dieting), difficulty (learning a new language) and maybe even a little pain (working out and rediscovering muscles you forgot you had).This approach only increases the odds you will throw in the towel and abandon your resolution.
Major life changes take time and if you resolve in your mind this is going to take time, you will be off to the races. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated because you are not seeing the weight fly off your frame or your body become a chiseled Adonis (or Madonna).
Anyone who follows my Blog posts is aware I am a strong advocate of writing things down, for a variety of reasons. In the case of working toward a New Year’s resolution, it helps to clearly identify what your goal is and monitor your progress.
To help you clearly define your goal or target there is nothing better than being confronted with a blank piece of paper and the requirement to spell out in plain, clear language exactly what your goal is, because if you can’t do that, then you are going to have a hard time reaching it.
These days there are apps to take care of everything for us but I still recommend you write things down to keep track of your goal. I also strongly recommend you come up with a plan on how you are going to achieve your goal and set some milestones for yourself so you can monitor your progress. When doing so, make them realistic and achievable.
For example, if your goal is to lose twenty pounds you should give yourself a couple of months to achieve it. To keep track of your progress, set some achievable milestones so you can set yourself up for success. If it were me I would aim to lose three pounds in the first week and four pounds a week after that. Now that is achievable and will not require you starve yourself.
The objective is to set yourself up for success because once you start seeing success towards the achievement of your goal it will boost your enthusiasm and resolve.It will dramatically increase your odds of achieving your ultimate goal.
Once you have a plan, follow it as best you can but don’t beat yourself up if you falter along the way. If you’re trying to quit smoking and after a week you find you just can’t stand it anymore, go ahead and have one, but resolve to go even longer the next time before you break down and have another. Eventually you will reach a point where you will no longer need to have one. The nicotine that has built up in your system over the years will take about two weeks to completely wash out. After that, any desire you have to smoke is purely psychological and not due to any addiction.
If your goal is to get fit and you find after two days of working out all of your muscles hurt, then stop. Wait until the pain goes away and start again. If it takes a week or longer, so be it.The next time you start to exercise take things a little slower.
In both cases, when you get back on track to the achievement of your resolution, you will be stronger than you were when you first started out. And the fact you get back on track is a strong indication you are committed, which means you will likely succeed.
The point is… don’t throw in the towel just because you falter or have to take a break. Get back at it as soon as you can. Keep repeating this until you can keep going without any problems.
In my own case of losing weight, I managed to lose over 30 pounds in a period of two months. By carefully monitoring my calorie intake and my weight each day (this is where writing things down helps), I realized that whenever I kept my calorie intake below 1200 calories a day, I would lose weight.
Once I understood that and I saw my weight dropping every day, I became obsessed with monitoring every calorie I put into my mouth. Some days I would lose half a pound and other days I would lose a pound and a half, but every day I would lose weight. And along the route when I grew tired of limiting my calories to 1200, I took a break and allowed myself a day to enjoy myself. But the following day I got back on track.
And in the case of quitting smoking, I quit a smoking habit of over 20 years simply by following the process I have described in this post. I simply refused to give up. First and foremost I started out with the firm resolve that I was going to quit…that I WANTED to quit. I didn’t use a patch or nicotine gum or hypnosis or any other program. I just simply quit and went for as long as I possibly could before I lit up. The first time I lasted five days. When I got back to quitting again I vowed to go longer the next time before I allowed myself to light up. By forcing myself to go longer and longer allowing myself to take a break, eventually I reached a point where I no longer need a break.
When that day arrived, I knew I had quit.
Good luck with your resolution.
Why don’t you add a comment and tell us about your own success story in which you achieved a resolution you set for yourself. I’d love to hear about it.
About Author: Written by MD Tinney, Author of “Re-Energize Your Life” while for more of his articles like this, check out his blog at Re-Energize Your Life.