It’s that time of year again. Time to make more promises to ourselves we don’t keep, and time to feel guilty for about two minutes that we didn’t keep our promises.
Have you ever thought to yourself, though, “if only I would have stuck to my weight loss resolution I would be down 10 pound by now”?
I sure have! It always hits me around April or May. I think about how I would have a few months of hard work under my belt and that I would finally be seeing results. It’s a bit disheartening to think about the progress I could have made if I would have stuck to my plan.
So why is it that we don’t stick to our New Year’s resolutions? These resolutions are meant to help us grow, become more healthy, or “better” in some way. After all, we do make resolutions with our best intentions in mind!
After giving this question some thought, I’ve decided that we don’t follow through with our resolutions for a few reasons:
- Many of the resolutions we make don’t involve instant gratification. Since we are all human, it’s easier to work towards something when we see instant results. Weight loss resolutions, for example, take time to achieve. Therefore, we’re more likely to fall off the wagon a few weeks into working out and eating well.
- We make resolutions that aren’t sustainable such as “I’m no longer going to eat sugar or carbs, and I’m going to cut out adult beverages”. If you’re someone who is use to indulging in these items on a regular basis, or even someone who has a treat here or there, by saying I can’t have these items is setting us up for failure from the start.
- We make too many lifestyle changes at once. Say you’re someone who currently exercises one time per week and is use to eating fast food on a regular basis. You then decide that your resolution is to exercise three times per week and cook dinner at home. The sheer volume of change is going to make this type of resolution unsustainable.
3 Ways to Create Sustainable Change in 2016
1) Instant Gratification
If your resolution is something that will take time to achieve such as losing 20 pounds, try breaking down the process into smaller achievements. Make your main goal to lose 20 pounds, but then also make a timeline. For example, by the end of January I want to have lost four pounds. Or you can even make part of your resolution to eat an extra serving of veggies every day. This type of resolution will help you achieve your weight loss goal while still providing the satisfaction of achieving a goal on a daily basis.
2) Make it Sustainable
As we discussed above, we are all human. Even when making resolutions with the best intentions in mind, if it’s not sustainable then change will not last. Restricting items such as carbs, sugar, and alcohol will only make us want them more. It’s more sustainable to say “I will only have dessert twice per week” than “I’m never eating sugar again”. By allowing ourselves to have these items a few times per week we’re more likely to let them go in the long run, and to avoid binging in the future.
3) Create Small Habit Changes
If your long term goal in 2016 is a lifestyle overhaul then I suggest making a list of everything you want to change. From there make a timeline and start with one task. For example, start with cooking at home two nights per week. Once that seems easy add an extra night. From there add on an extra workout. Make each addition a habit before moving onto the next. This could take a few weeks or a few months. Just remember to be patient and that you are making positive changes along the way. By the end of 2016 you’ll find that you have achieved your goals instead of feeling overwhelmed and giving up within two weeks.
Happy New Year!
So what’s your New Year’s resolution?
I’m still nailing mine down, but you bet I’ll be taking the above points in mind when finalizing everything!
I hope you and your loved ones have an amazing New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year!
Here’s to 2016!!
Until next time,
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