The clock strikes midnight and, in the haze of champagne, you commit to make yourself better this year: you’ll lose those last 10 pounds; you’ll eat more greens; you’ll finally learn how to properly do your taxes. But by the mid-January, you’re reheating pizza on a fire made from expense receipts.
The third week in January is when willpower goes from wavering to collapsed, with almost 40 per cent of resolutions binned, according to research from the YMCA. But battle through and you stand a 47 per cent chance of turning that resolution into a lifelong habit.
The key is switching from willpower – which buckles the minute your spot the golden arches – to automatic behaviour. To bolster your efforts, we assembled a new you squad, to keep you on the straight and narrow. Steer the course, young padawan.
Slow And Steady Wins The Beach Body
Brian Flynn, owner of Brooklyn gym Body Unique:
“Focus on New Year’s solutions rather than resolutions. I’ve never met a person that has been able to stick wholeheartedly to the New Year resolution.
“Try setting realistic short-term goals that provide a solution to whatever your overall goal may be. If you take your overall goal and break it into smaller goals you are more likely to stay on task. For instance, if you want to shed 75lbs this year, focus on a realistic 6.25lbs a month, and by the end of the year, you have your goal.
“Having an all or nothing mindset isn’t ideal. Cut yourself some slack and leave room for potential slip-ups. You’re not a failure if you eat that occasional slice of pizza, just try to make up for it in the days that follow with better nutrition and a more challenging resistance training workout; you will be right back on track.”
Make Exercise An Appointment, Not An Afterthought
Kraig Becker, freelance adventure travel and outdoor sports writer:
“You have to make exercise and fitness a priority. I know it’s tough when you get busy with work and a hectic schedule, but if it becomes an afterthought, you’ll end up not taking your resolutions seriously.
“Find time to go to the gym and even put your workouts on your calendar. That way they become part of your weekly routine, and much harder to skip.”
Karen Morse, health and nutrition writer and a regular contributor to Clean Eating magazine:
“If you have trouble staying motivated past the first few weeks of the year, find new ways to motivate yourself. A workout buddy is great since you’re accountable not only to yourself, but you have someone waiting for you at the gym that you don’t want to disappoint.
“It also helps to put your goal in writing somewhere you’ll see it everyday – the bathroom mirror, on your desk, as a screensaver. Remember why you set your goal in the first place when you feel like you are making excuses, or going off track.”
Celebrate The Little Wins
Dr. Lisa Greenberg, psychologist in Madison, New Jersey:
“Think of every time you don’t follow through on your New Year’s resolution not as a failure, but as a step toward succeeding in the future. What enabled you to stop smoking for two weeks? What led you to pick up a cigarette? What can you learn from this? In other words, you didn’t fail – you succeeded in giving yourself the chance to do better next time.”
Not making clear plans, not being fully dedicated to their goals, and focusing on too many changes account for over two-thirds of resolution failures. If you want to make 2016 your year, keep your goals at the front of your mind. Cross the mid-January hump, and you’re halfway there.