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You can just start again! It’s tempting to give up completely when things go wrong, particularly after the huge build up. But it’s worth remembering that new year’s resolutions can start up again any time you want them to. In fact we’re pretty sure it’s still a ‘new’ year for most of January, technically? Don’t let all the hype harm your plans if they go awry. Too much pressure and you can stress yourself out of achieving anything. Write week 1 off as a rough draft and don’t give up on those goals.
Let’s say you want to stop checking your phone every 5 minutes [and by the way, we can help with THAT] Sure you could just try and go cold turkey, but wouldn’t it be better to scope out all your options first? We’ve hunted down some of the best methods to help your resolutions succeed:
Adding new behaviours makes you more likely to stick to plans than simply stopping old behaviours. While this is good news for anyone who’s looking to adopt new habits; it can be tricky if you’re trying to give up something. Try approaching your dilemma from a new perspective. Rather than banning snacks from your life, try switching them to healthier alternatives. By picking up on new positives, you stand a better chance of making it work than if you only try to force away the negatives.
If your list of new resolutions covers 2 sides of A4, chances are you’ll be spreading yourself too thin. The idea of having a total overhaul in January is appealing but it’s far from realistic. Picking a few key points – even just putting all your effort into 1 – is the way to go. And the more specific the better. Rather than just ‘eating healthier’, you’re more likely to achieve your goal if it’s precise. ‘Eat my 5-a-day’ is a tangible plan that you can measure so you’ll be much more likely to keep it going. Even if your goal is enormous, it’s still best to start out small and build up from there; avoid biting off more than you can chew.
Leave yourself notes. Write memos. Set reminders. Or even rig up some alarms. Whatever your preference is, prompt yourself into doing it. Setting up a few alerts at the start of the week can keep you on course and get you into a routine. And once something’s a part of your routine, you’re halfway there! There’s no need to rely entirely on your memory + willpower for this; make the most of any diaries and planners to get organised. Giving yourself some friendly prompts in the right direction can go a long way.
The research shows it takes 66 days on average to form a habit. So if you can make it through to the first week of March, you’re onto a winner. If your resolution’s more of a hobby than a serious pursuit, 2 months can seem like no time at all. If you’re pushing for something a bit more serious like studying or weight loss, it can feel like an eternity. So what’s the best way to make the time fly by? Breaking it down and then working your way through! You wouldn’t start out running whole marathons, so don’t approach other goals that way either. Set aside a bit of time to plot your course, particularly if you made spur of the moment new year’s eve goals. Work in days and weeks rather than getting bogged down in the end results and distant deadlines.
Seeing where you’ve come from can be one of the best motivator’s and it’s entirely personal to YOU. This one’s super helpful if you have tangible plans like cutting down on drinking or giving up smoking; they’re easy to measure and keep tabs on. But no matter what your goals are, don’t forget to reward your progress. Any amount that you cut down/get done/stay on track is an achievement, even if it’s not happening as fast as you’d like. Don’t punish yourself into giving up completely, you’ve still been trying hard. Just make sure you’re not tempting yourself with treats that’ll get you off track.
Why ARE you doing [or not doing] this thing? Make sure it matters to you and you’re not just following the herd. The media may be full of crash diets and exercise plans this time of year but if that’s not for you – don’t do it. Choose plans you’re authentically enthusiastic about and they’ll be easier to keep going. Even if it’s not the grandest ambition, doing something that you care about will always bring you better results than following whatever’s on trend. Could be meal prep, keeping houseplants alive or just remembering to give your friends a call more often.
As much as you want to do this by yourself, for yourself, it can be a huge help to give people a heads up about your goals. Support from friends and family can give you a boost, and you might even benefit from some amiable pushes in the right direction if you start slacking. If you’re not the only person in your life who’s had a rocky start to their resolutions, buddy up and help each other take another stab at it.
Life isn’t the way we knew it last January, either. Acknowledge that your options are limited; there’s no point beating yourself up about not getting to the gym if the gym can’t even open yet. As much as we’ve all been waiting for 2021 to bring us a fresh start, the pandemic didn’t end at midnight on December 31st. Remaining objective is important; adjust your goals for the current situation and don’t feel bad about factors beyond your control.
Planning things out, keeping track of your journey, acknowledging progress. By investing some prep time into your plans rather than just winging it, you can do this. 2020 left a lot of us feeling adrift and pretty unproductive but starting afresh in 2021 can give us all a boost. Life’s not what it used to be, but as we’re getting better at adapting, we can all start to make the most of things again.
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