How often have you dived headfirst into the New Year with extremely strict guidelines for your diet and exercise regime? And how often after 2 weeks have you given up and slumped back into your old habits, riddled with guilt? Sound familiar?
Patience is often not everyone’s strong suit, and sometimes the idea of a whole year of sticking to the new rules can feel completely unrealistic after that 2-week slog. But New Year isn’t about reinventing yourself, It’s about finding your best bits and embracing them. We like to call this changing your perspective.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to follow the ‘New Year’ manual. To lose weight, to be more active, to focus on our mental health, to give up fat, sugar, salt. No wonder we throw in the towel. We’re only human, but society’s expectations and our own expectations are far too high. Sometimes it’s easier to be selective with our goals, as this may help us keep them far past January.
Choose a small number of things- if not one
We may want to incorporate more green vegetables into our diets, or reduce the amount of sugar, try to use our phones less, or walk more. It has been found that having one or two focuses rather than many is far more achievable and effective. Make sure these goals are achievable too- you’re not very likely to be able to completely give up salt for the year, so just try to reduce your intake. Resolutions aren’t about punishing yourself- they’re about making yourself better, so keep your goals slim and manageable.
Start when you’re ready
There’s no need to start your resolutions straight away on January 1st if you don’t feel ready to begin, as you’ll only be more likely to fall at the first hurdle. Wait until you feel fairly confident and start then- this may be late January or mid-year, but at least you’ll be much better prepared and equipped to take on the challenges you’ve set for yourself.
Whatever your goal may be, don’t rush it. It can feel disheartening if we haven’t lost weight by February or keep secretly snacking on the chocolate you swore you’d give up, but different goals and ambitions take different amounts of time, so give yourself that time. Whether that be running a marathon in a certain time or being better at recycling, celebrate the small victories and you’ll soon realise how far you’ve come.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Set your goals with ambition in mind, not failure. Let yourself know that you are absolutely capable of your goals, and that failure is a lesson in success. Even if you don’t fully meet your goals, or give up on them before the end of January, remember that you can always try again, because luckily, the only rules to resolutions are your own.
Choose something you care about
A proper resolution should be well thought out. Try not to make your resolutions on New Year’s Eve or on a day when you’re feeling unhappy or guilty, as these will be influenced by your mindset on one particular day. Plan ahead and make realistic goals that seem manageable and that you know you really want to pursue. For example, following one of our Balance Box programmes makes dieting incredibly easy, and you’re much less likely to give up when your meals are prepared for you.
Make partnership goals
Depending on what you want your resolutions to achieve, you may find that someone else in your life has the exact same habit. Pairing up and working together to keep habits can be a great way to make them stick, as you can hold the other person accountable and ensure you’re getting that same support back. Perhaps your resolution is to go to the gym 3 times a week- plan your sessions and go together. This will ensure that if you feel the urge to skip a session, you’re likely to think again as this would mean cancelling on a friend and letting them down. This may not work for everyone, but some may find their goals much easier to achieve when they’ve got that additional source of support and empathy.
Tell people about it
Resolutions that you keep to yourself can end up being optional because only you know about them. When other people know about your goals then they can support you in your journey, and you will have a great sense of pride when they ask you about it and you can tell them how well you’re doing.
If you want your resolution to stick, try incorporating them into your pre-existing daily habits. For example, if your goal is to be more mindful, then try to attach that mindfulness into a habitual daily activity- such as drinking your morning coffee or having your evening bath. Adding these new activities into your normal habits will make them much more likely to stick in the long-run, and can be great in improving your healthy habits.
Put your money where your mouth is
One reason why people tend to give up on their resolutions is that there are very few tangible consequences if they don’t follow through. A great tip is to create a consequence that hurts. For example, place a monetary consequence every 2 weeks, increasing or decreasing as time goes by.
Track your progress
Tracking how well you’re doing is extremely helpful in making sure you’re actually doing as well as you think you are. Use a calendar or make a graph and track each days progress. Being able to see how many days you’ve checked off can be great in reminding you how far you’ve come and how much you’ve achieved and can also make quitting feel like much more of a loss that you don’t want to give in to.
So, whatever your goals for the new year, and whether you’ve started them or not, you may find the benefit in making sure your goals are things you care about, and that you are tracking them and giving yourself the credit you deserve for small victories. Giving up is normal, but getting back on your feet and trying again is the mark of someone who wants to change.
At Balance Box, we understand how difficult it can be trying to change yourself for the better- especially in the new year. If your goals are to eat better and be healthier then we are here to help. Our team of nutritionists are dedicated to helping you to achieve your health goals and supporting you through your diet to become the person you want to be. Whether that’s boosting your immunity, brainpower, nourishing your skin and hair, or achieving your weight-loss goals, our meals are delivered daily to give you the best chance at keeping your healthy resolutions. Why not discover a meal plan that suits you today?