Written by Pat Stanziano, MPT, Hons BSc Kin
In a recent, clearly scientific poll (sarcasm) done on our Instagram account (@LABsRehab), 32 out of 56 respondents (about 57%) said they make New Year’s resolutions. That seems a bit high. Depending on the source you check, slightly less than 50% of people make them. Interesting enough though, only 10% of people manage to follow through to any type of resolution success.
Change can be daunting, especially when it comes to your health and fitness goals. So I’ve put together some suggestions that will empower you to stay motivated on your new adventure, or do-over.
Pick one thing that will make the greatest impact on your life
Some people have a laundry list of items they want to accomplish – lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, reduce stress, sleep better, eat healthier, and so on. My advice to you is that you pick the one that will have the greatest impact on your life – at least to start the year. Resolutions require changes in behavior, so be sure that your goal is realistic and attainable. This will help you remain confident in your ability to stick with it.
Research shows that it takes 2-3 months to create a habit. So once your resolution becomes a habit, you can start working on secondary goals.
Know Your WHY
The reason why you are making a change is a huge part of making that behaviour last.
Your deep-rooted WHY will never waver (unlike your will-power might); and the more in-line you are with your intentions, the more compelled you’ll feel each day to meet your goals.
Let’s try a little exercise:
Ask yourself: Why is (insert your goal) important to me?
Answer: Because I want ——- XYZ ——-.
Cool, now dig deeper. Why is having ——- XYZ ——- important to you? Keep recycling this question until you can’t go any deeper. This will help you truly understand your WHY that is driving your goal. Once you are there. Write it down. Writing it down helps make your Why real. Here’s my example:
Why is losing a few pounds important to me?
Because I want to look and be healthier.
Why is looking and being healthier important to me?
Because I want be able to fully participate in the important moments in my daughter’s life for as long as I can.
Why is this important to me?
Because I love her and want her to pass this example on to those she loves too.
WOW, that’s deep!
Have an accountability partner or team
Accountability is essential for success. So surround yourself with people who inspire you to do more, have more, and be more. Your partner, should be just that, a family member or peer that you trust, who will keep you honest and moving on the right path that you have set for yourself. Be sure to set up regular check-ins – by phone, email, or in person – to help keep you on track with your short-term goals and strategies.
Have a plan and keep track of your progress
The best resolutions that come to fruition have a plan of action. Break your end goal down into smaller, weekly goals so you feel like you’re working towards something immediate, and plan on doing something daily – no matter how small – that will get you closer to your desired result. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself, occasionally, as this positive reinforcement helps to sustain those changes.
Speaking of sustaining, writing things down in a notebook, calendar, or in your phone offers feedback by revealing areas of strength and weaknesses, and ultimately helps support an “I can do this” attitude.
Just because the wheel fell off the wagon, doesn’t mean the journey ends
Most people who make resolutions will experience failures. So it’s important that you expect failure and accept it when it happens. Keep note of the triggers that caused your setback and learn from them. Take the time to re-examine your plan, talk to your support person (or team), make modifications if you have to, and get back at it.
Make it fun
Don’t forget that in your efforts to attain an impactful goal, New Year’s Resolutions offer an opportunity to try new things and have fun doing them.
Wishing you all a Happy 2019.