08 Jan New Year’s resolutions 2017 – start small
The New Year is fraught with expectation. Some people make lofty New Year’s resolutions and manage to stick to them for about two weeks, before reverting to their previous patterns of behaviour.
It is actually the hardest point of the year to make changes, because we are indolent with the excess and recreation of the holidays. It is hard to go back to work, and it is hard to get back into the zone of healthy behaviour after the holidays.
Here are some tips for getting back into a healthy lifestyle and to give you the best chance of real behavioural change:
Easiest to hardest
When faced with a set of changes you want to make, it can be helpful to organise this list from easiest to hardest. It works for all sorts of tasks that you are avoiding doing, from cleaning the house to getting into your work for the day.
If you list the specific tasks you need to achieve to reach your goal, and order them from easiest to hardest, you can start with the easiest task on your list. When you have completed this task, this will give you the motivation to start to tackle the harder things on your list, and as you go up the list you will gather momentum.
What is one thing I can do today?
A very useful way of making progress, is to define your goals from your values. If you value health, then your goal might be to exercise every day, or to eat healthy, nutritious food every day. Once you have defined your goal, it is useful to think about the first logical step towards this goal.
Ask yourself ‘what is one thing I can do today that will bring me closer to my goal?’. The next day, ask the same question, and this will help to build momentum and as you get closer to your goal you will get more motivated.
Your New Year’s resolutions should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. There is no point making a goal that you are going to get fit, because it is not measurable, and you will not know when you have achieved that goal. It is better to set a particular goal in numbers, such as I will run x km in y time by April 2016.
Don’t set yourself up to fail. Many people suggest that you should start with the smallest possible goal, so that you can slam that goal out of the park and gather momentum to build your motivation and success.
Start small and build
Overall, my advice for achieving your goals this year is to start small, with the smallest possible step towards your goal and build.
It may not be about willpower at all, as this article in the Guardian suggests. It might be about your environment and setting yourself up to succeed.
It is HARD to go back to work and to lose the Christmas weight and to achieve your New Year’s goals and aspirations, or get back into a healthy lifestyle. Start with the easiest, smallest thing on your list and gather momentum that way.