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5 Tips for Making Resolutions Stick

It’s the time of year again when people start thinking about New Year's resolutions and the things they want to accomplish in the next year.

Most people’s goals are health related; whether it’s to start working out more consistently, change your diet, run a marathon, lose a certain amount of weight, there are endless possibilities for what you can accomplish this year.

Setting goals is great and an important step to accomplishing the things you want to do. Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t stick with their resolutions for more than the first two weeks of the year.

Research has found that only 8% of people actually accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. According to science journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 55% of the goals people had were health related. While many people want to change their overall health for the better, a lot of people fail to reach their goals. Why? How can you make sure you are successful this year?

Why People Fail To Be Successful With New Year’s Resolutions

Lack of Discipline

  • Many people rely on their motivation to get them to the gym, or to meal prep, or budget. Motivation is not always there, otherwise we would always do the things we know we should do.

  • It’s not about having motivation, you have to practice the discipline of doing the thing you want to get better at, even when you don’t want to do it.

Unrealistic Expectations

  • Setting realistic goals is the first step to being successful.

  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish based on where you are starting from. While it’s great to have lofty goals achieving those lofty goals takes smaller goals to help you get there. Break down your big goal into smaller goals. What will you do monthly, weekly, and daily to reach your big or long term goal?

  • Be realistic in your expectations of how long it should take to achieve your goal.

  • Many people believe that they should see drastic changes in their weight when they start a new exercise routine or make healthy changes to their diet, but losing weight takes time. It is not a quick and easy process, it can take a long time and a lot of hard work. Cutting your calories drastically is not the best way to get where you want to go if you want to keep the weight off in the long run. Instead make small changes to your habits that are sustainable for the rest of your life.

Your Why is External - Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation:

  • Extrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, grades, and praise, or to avoid punishment. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual, as opposed to intrinsic motivation, which originates inside of the individual.

  • Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards, such as feeling good, is naturally satisfying to you, or brings you joy.

  • Many people set out to make a change with extrinsic motivation fueling their fire. It’s not a bad thing, but doing something you don’t enjoy for an external reward is not as sustainable as finding something that is naturally satisfying.

  • For example, many people want to lose weight to gain praise from others, but they may hate working out and don’t want to start going to the gym because it isn’t naturally satisfying. So they are less likely to stick with going to the gym and working out. Instead finding ways to move that are enjoyable would be more realistic and sustainable.

5 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Chance of Success

Work On Discipline

  • Remember that motivation won’t always be there, don’t rely on it.

  • Work on creating discipline to do the things you need to do even when you don’t want to do them.

Avoid All Or Nothing Mindset

  • Giving 100% is great, but it’s not sustainable. Remember that even giving 1% effort towards reaching a goal is still progress and will yield results. Consistency is key!

  • A 50% effort workout is better than giving 100% for a month and burning out.

  • Not every workout has to be 100%, your body needs recovery workouts as well.

Check Your Ego At The Door

  • If you are joining a gym or running group, remember that everyone is at different fitness levels and has different fitness experience. You might feel the urge to compete with those working out around you, but try to avoid that.

  • The best thing you can do is work on improving yourself and not worry about how fast others are running, or how much weight they are lifting.

Set Long and Short Term Realistic Goals

  • If you want to lose 100lb, focus on the first 25lb or even the first 10lb.

  • If you want to run your first marathon, celebrate your first 5k too!

  • If you want to change your diet, start by cooking a few meals at home each week.

  • Set yourself up for success by setting little goals that you can accomplish each day, week, month, and year! The little things add up into something big and help make behavior changes more sustainable.

Falling Off The Wagon

  • This is bound to happen, we all fall off the wagon.

  • The important thing is how you respond to these obstacles. Consistency is the most important thing. Messing up for one meal, one day, or even a week will not completely ruin your progress.

  • If you have a whole pizza on January 3rd, don’t beat yourself up and throw the rest of the day, week, month, or year out the window. Make your next meal healthier and get in the gym on January 4th!

Remember that the changes you make should fit into your lifestyle! If keto doesn’t include things you like to eat, it’s probably not sustainable. If you hate working out, don’t jump in and workout five days in a row the first two weeks of the year, start off with one or two days with movement you enjoy and increase from there. Start small and work your way up to bigger changes.

Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Cheers to 2021!

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