It's that time of the year again when we naturally shift our focus to New Year resolutions. Whether it’s cutting out sugar, sticking to a fitness plan, or practicing more self-care, the lead up to January tends to always be an exciting time, sprinkled with promises and goals and most importantly, the idea of success.
However what’s most common (*other than people setting pretty much the same wellbeing resolutions every year) is the fact that their willpower wanes by around the third week of the month. The only motivation they concentrate on is January 1… and that simply isn't strong enough.
To stick with your wellbeing resolutions and improve your willpower and motivation effectively, it's important to work on replacing self-doubt, fear, and anxiety with control and confidence. Here are some of the best tips to help you set, keep, and achieve your goals without falling off the wagon.
Nutrition, Fitness and Wellbeing: Tips for keeping new year resolutions
1. Set goals for yourself out of inspiration, not desperation
We tend to discipline ourselves with extreme ‘goals’ when we’ve been naughty, like after a night of too much alcohol or a weekend binge on comfort food – but these never last. They are borne out of guilt, therefore taunt you rather than inspire you. So if you feel crappy from all those cookies and pizza slices you ate, don’t think that starving yourself is a surefire way to gain back control of your eating habits.
Instead, look for inspiration in healthy cookbooks, online or even from friends and family and try making healthy meals for yourself. You’ll more than likely feel accomplished and nourished at the same time – and the best part is that nowadays, you can find a better version of any guilty pleasure meal (*like homemade dark cacao protein cookies and cauliflower based pizza).
2. Forget excuses, think small and keep it simple
If you’re living on a budget, don’t be discouraged and think you can’t afford to work out, eat right or take good care of yourself. You don't need expensive personal trainers, gym memberships, or bespoke nutrition plans. What you do need are handy hacks – check out apps that provide discounts on group fitness classes, water intake reminders, blogs for inexpensive recipes, or online step by step at home workout videos.
Also, you can take it up a notch with everyday habits, like take the stairs instead of the elevator, pre-pack your lunches, get up from your desk, go outside and take a stroll, and make a pact with a friend who has similar resolutions and support one another.
3. Focus on long-lasting change rather than fads that promise quick results
Understand that the healthiest way you can go about achieving your goals is to make long-term habits that become second nature. For example, many people get discouraged when they don’t see results after a few weeks in the gym, but they may have joined an unrealistic ‘It’ programme or hired a trainer who leaves them feeling like a failure.
Instead, take the time to try out a few different workouts and discover what you actually enjoy doing – that way, you’ll be excited to exercise rather than think of it as a box you have to tick at the end of every week. When you’re having fun and feeling good, you’ll naturally create your own schedule and stick to it for months to come without even realising.
4. Be realistic and kind to yourself
Break the larger end-goal into smaller manageable ones – for example, thinking you’re going to lose a bunch of weight in two months time isn’t setting realistic expectations, nor is thinking you are going to cut out sugar in one day. This kind of extreme thinking leads to erratic behaviour and self-sabotage.
Instead, think about what you want to achieve by the end of this week, then the next, and so on. Reaching smaller milestones will motivate you towards the larger goals.
5. Understand the difference between feeding your emotions and feeding your body
Get to know the role your mind plays on your body. Depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, and loneliness can all lead to unhealthy behaviour. By addressing the underlying emotions you'll be able to nix the poor coping methods that have been adding inches to your waistline.
No matter what you wish to achieve this coming year, make sure that you go in prepared and realistic. You can stick to and keep the resolutions you set out for yourself and feel success along the way when you keep these tips in mind. Happy 2019!