New Year’s Resolutions, are they achievable? YES!

It’s coming to the end of yet another year and it’s time for most people to start considering what it is about this last year that they would like to change. They imagine themselves making a new year’s resolution, a commitment to the reforming of a habit, doing something new or defiantly and stubbornly refusing to set any goals for themselves under the guise that the whole thing is stupid and pointless.

In reality it’s because they don’t want to disappoint themselves when they don’t achieve their goals or have other mock them for it. I’ve been there, I know it’s hard,but it never will be easy to achieve the things you really believe will make you feel better about yourself or life in general.

According to City Socialising Blog in 2009 a study of 4145 people was undertaken to analyse the new years resolutions people were considering for 2010. They were asked to choose up to 3 and the top 10 according to the results of the survey appeared to be:

2010 (Source: City Socialising Blog, 2009)

  1. Enjoy life more
  2. Lose weight / go on a diet
  3. Get fit / start exercising
  4. Learn something new
  5. Find true love
  6. Get a better job
  7. Save money
  8. Pay off my debts
  9. Take a trip
  10. Reduce stress

Then these were considered the norm for the following 2 years…not much has changed.

2011 (Source: The Warc Blog, 2011)

  1. Get yourself organized
  2. Do things that make you happy
  3. Learn something new
  4. Exercise more
  5. Watch your diet
  6. Find a new job
  7. Better manage your finances
  8. Spend more time with your family
  9. Quit smoking
  10. Quit drinking

2012 (Source: Mail Online, 2012)

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Fit
  3. Eat more healthily
  4. Save money/spend less
  5. Get a new job
  6. Spend more time with people who matter
  7. Try new experiences
  8. Get out of a rut
  9. Visit a country you’ve never been to
  10. Read more

It’s easy to see that we tend to stick to the same resolutions year in year out and we have common personal goals, but how many of them do we actually keep. Sticking to a resolution is genuinely hard they are often life changing yet life has it’s own habit of getting in the way, if you say you’ll drink less and spend more time with friends then usually it’s inevitable that the time spent with friends is usually spent drinking. For most of the grown up women I know it’s a night off from the family and spending time with the family usually involves lots of food … arghh, circles!. There really must be a way of managing a resolution and having a life…right?

I honestly believe it’s possible, at the risk of blowing my own trumpet and sounding smug I can say I have kept at least a few of those most common resolutions. However, they are the ones that allow me to exercise my excessive ability to be a control freak. In the past 5 years I have:

  • Quit smoking – I did this with willpower alone when I noticed my teeth staining at 20, hell no that had to go;
  • Learned something new (studied) – I said I was unhappy and unchallenged to Anita and she told me “don’t moan to me about it go and do something about it!”  So I did…Thanks dear;
  • Learned to eat healthily – Discovering I had Celiac disease and all the other health complications that came along with it I immediately had the motivation to change my eating habits and eat less junk and more varied fresh produce and proteins;
  • Got fit – I’ve never been fit but I always wanted to, so when I quit smoking it was the perfect excuse. It started with jogging, then we received a cross trainer for Christmas and finally we got gym memberships. Don’t believe I didn’t give in and go home once or twice, I did, but what I didn’t do is refuse to go back because of the guilt of missing one session. Also, you don’t need a gym there are so many new ways of getting active the possibilities really are endless;
  • Lost weight – I gained a whopping 3 stone and went to a UK size 18, although I was not what I would consider grossly over weight I was unhappy and began to feel uncomfortable in social situations. So diet and exercise it was and I lost an amazing 4 stone and got down to a UK 8/10 – I did put that extra stone back on but not the size as I gained muscle weight back rather than fat;
  • Spent more time with friends – it’s amazing how a good laugh with your friends really can lift your spirits when times are tough and it’s addictive, it really is an easy one to stick to;
  • Save money – well I wasn’t going to travel on fresh air, was I?
  • Tried something new (being this blog) – I booked my tickets to Australia and decided to blog about it and why, because I didn’t know if I could and it just so turns out that I could, so could you!

So really what are the secrets to keeping a resolution? Is there a secret or is it just about limiting the number to the ones that really matter, because choosing too many is daunting, isn’t it?

The truth is there isn’t a secret to doing it unless you consider will power a secret, you either have it or you don’t. But all is not lost if you don’t, you just have to deliberately make it a little easier for yourself. Once you have changed one thing and accomplished what you set out to do it will be all the more easier to make those positive changes in the future and here are some tips to sticking to your resolutions:

  • Choose less – it’s easier to have 3 resolutions rather than 5 and it’s a lot easier to have one rather than 3. By biting off more than you can chew (figuratively ;)) it’s more likely you will fail at the majority or all of your set resolutions. So choose 1, put the effort in and succeed…simple!
  • Choose with reasoning – making a choice on a whim isn’t likely to give you the motivation to stay committed, you need to make a choice based on that feeling in the pit of your stomach that keeps nagging. It could be lose weight or it could be to take the plunge, get a new job and break your routine but for it to stick as a resolution it has to be something you really really want and not just something you think you should do based on the resolutions of those around you.
  • Technology – Technology is taking over the world, some are afraid of it and others crave it. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between. Smart phone apps like Noom Cardio Trainer help you log your work outs and give you ultimate motivation. You can see how well you have done over a period of time and that feeling of pride will keep you going and spur you on.
  • Tell people – I know there are some internet memes mocking those that post gym updates on social media sites (guilty as charged) but it really is good for motivation because it’s like your not only promising yourself you’ll do it, but you are also promising your friends, family and you are opening the doors for others to join you. Some people don’t like doing things alone and some are just downright competitive (guilty again) but what ever works should be embraced.
  • Goals – Just small ones to begin with then you can increase them as things start to get easier, saying you are going to lose half a stone a week is too much. It’s hard to do and you will feel disheartened when you don’t reach it and most likely stop trying. Instead aim to lose 2lb a week which is still doable and you can still have a treat or two.
  • Lose the “all or nothing” attitude – I have toned up and lost more weight by making the right choices and eating healthy on work days and then I’m allowed a few GF biscuits on my day off with my cup of tea and even some desert or a cheeky barista coffee. Make the right choices and you will see the results.
  • Think positive and keep going – When I run I always find myself counting down the minutes or distance left and I feel like giving up when I get a little ache here or there, but what keeps me going is telling myself how disappointed I’ll be if I quit half way when I’ve done this distance many times. I also tell myself how proud I’ll be when I’ve done it. It really works for me and maybe it will for you, there is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself so enjoy that feeling and use it time and time again to keep you going.
  • Persistence (get back on it) – While skiing in February I saw a Carlsberg advert that really struck a chord, even though it was a lager advertisement and not a gluten free one at that, it shared this sentiment with it’s passers by:
Carlsberg

If Carlsberg did motivation…

So, let’s see what resolutions are trending this year and take the poll and share with others what your new year’s resolution will be.

This year my new year’s resolutions are to enjoy myself, stop saying “no, I’m too tired” and go for it! For far too long I’ve been cynical and stuck in a routine that has given me excuse after excuse not to have amazing experiences, well not any more I tell you! I wish I could say I’d learn a new language but that would be pushing it … maybe in 2014!

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