1. DON’T wait till January – START NOW – Why? Because by the time the New Year comes we are likely to have over-indulged in a lot of things, such as drink, food, partying through the night and overworking to get things finished both at home and at work. Essentially we become exhausted. Fatigue in both mind and body is not a good place to be, let alone provide us with the energy to keep our desired goals going. Habits form easily especially when they appear comforting, so doing without is going to be harder to maintain. So start now by moderating what you know in the new year you want to change e.g. Usually drink 4 glasses of wine a night – cut down to 3 a night by having a glass of water (served in a wine glass) between drinks.
2. LEARN about yourself & what might make it difficult to keep your resolution on track – Why? Because we need to understand ourselves in order to stimulate motivational belief needed to maintain change. Ask yourself these questions and write your answers down:
· What do I want to change?
· What is my purpose of doing this?
· What do I want to achieve?
· Am I doing it for myself, because I think it will please others or to
be part of a group?
3. LEARN what stops you from maintaining your goal?
· Do you think about it but never start it?
· Do you start well and then give up?
· If so, what stopped you from keeping it going?
· Were there influences from others that affected your willpower?
· Once you can identify triggers which encourage you to give up, you
can act in advance to prevent them.
NOW take all these answers and ask yourself are you resilient?
4. RECOGNISE RESILIENCE means ‘ability to recover’ – have you got it?
- Humans are forged from resilient abilities, they are the core of everyone of us, but sometimes they become rusty, particularly if we ‘believe’ we do not have the ability to ‘keep going’, think ‘I can’t stand it thoughts’ or beat ourselves up when we fail to keep it going.
- We are all natural copers. You cope every day with minor or major happenings. But if you do not believe in your coping abilities you will lose your motivation and are less likely to value what you do, probably focusing instead on what you haven’t done. In another blog I will explore how to build confidence by valuing what you do
- Remember every time you say No to yourself you are strengthening your resilient ability to keep going
ACHIEVE your new RESOLUTION by:
5. Setting a reasonable goal for example: ‘I’m not going to eat cream cakes anymore’ when you have been eating them for years is likely to be too difficult to keep up, because an ingrained habit has been set. Self damning “I knew I wouldn’t do it, I’m useless” thoughts will become the norm and you are likely to give up trying. Whereas thinking “I will only eat cream cakes as a treat on a Saturday”, is a more realistic and attainable goal, based on reduction rather than absolutes.
6. Think of your challenge in small manageable steps instead of the end result e.g. ‘want to lose a stone’ – think of it in bit size chunks – ‘want to lose 2lbs by the end of the week’
7. Take one day at a time – if you didn’t manage to keep your resolve going for one day there is no point in beating yourself up for it, just makes it harder the next day to get going. Much better to accept the fact you’re a normal fallible human being, that no one is perfect. Accept yourself on your off day and you will like yourself more on your good days. Thus resolve to keep going gets strengthened.
8. Instead of doing it alone join with a friend/colleagues or family. Because motivational resolve to keep going is something we can reflectively support within each other just by being there, seeing each other succeed and at times stall.
9. CHALLENGE the WAY YOU THINK with evidence based thinking
- You are a coper – when you find yourself thinking ‘I can’t stand it’ – challenge it with evidence “I can stand it, I’ve stood it before, I can stand it again’, because you can and you have, many times
- Any habit can subconsciously make us feel that we have no choice or we have to do this, match others etc. Challenge it, because everything you do is your choice (there’s no gun at your head). Remember you can only control in life what you choose to do. For example ‘I can’t say no to a drink because everyone else is having one’ challenge with “I don’t have to follow everyone else, I can choose not to drink another one, if I don’t I will be happier with myself’.
10. Consider using a variety of aids to support your journey
- Listen to music when exercising or jogging
- Use a pedometer to measure the steps you take in a day, helps to motivate movement
- Get your firm to set up a yearly sponsored getting healthy new year’s resolution program (always start in December) e.g. they provide pedometers – departments choose the theme, could be walking program; diet; swimming; taking constructive breaks; walking between floors instead of taking lifts
- Join a class, learn something new that interests you
- Ensure one day a week you have a treat day – relax and enjoy – no need to cut something out completely UNLESS it is affecting your health.
- Aim for everything in moderation.
LAST but not least read the ‘Best tip for reducing pressure at Christmas’ on the articles page of this website, it has a great tool for ‘binning’ frustration, if, when you find yourself not keeping to your resolve. Get out the feelings and you will find yourself more able to maintain the change you want.