How to Succeed With Your 2019 New Year's Resolutions
Christmas is over and we’re almost to the end of 2018! As we head into the last couple days of the year, I know that I’m thinking of some of my new year’s resolutions for this next upcoming year
I need to be better about stretching and flexibility, and am looking to yoga and ballet to help with that
I’m looking to create and consume more probiotic and prebiotic foods like homemade kimchi and sauerkraut
Help more people around me live a healthier and happier life - coworkers, friends and family
The problem is of course that as we head into the new year everyone is all pumped and excited to start anew - but three months down the road, everyone has fallen off the wagon. We return to our old habits and ways, and feel ashamed at our failure to hold ourselves to our resolutions made not so long ago. Only 12% of all people end up keeping their resolutions just one year later.
The question I had was how can we ensure that our resolutions actually succeed? How can we make changes in our lives that will actually stick around and help to improve our health and wellness?
I did some research on how to succeed with resolutions, and found five helpful strategies to help ensure that the habit sticks: repetition, automation, accountability, not letting mistakes stop you, and removing obstacles.
Habits are formed out of sheer repetition of a behavior or act. You’ve heard the advice that “Repeat a behavior for 30 days and it becomes a habit?” The longer you are able to keep repeating your behavior, the longer it is likely to stick.
When it comes to dieting and exercise, it’s better to err on the side of being overly strict or committed to the plan to ensure that you can extend it as long as possible. The reverse is also true - giving up sugar or phone use before bedtime will need to be done for a longer period of time to ensure that it sticks as a habit.
The more you can automate this behavior, the better chance you have of succeeding with making it a habit.
You know how Netflix automatically can let you know what’s new on Netflix that’s recommended to you? For the longest time, I resisted that email. “Ugh, Netflix - stop spamming me!” But when I actually sat down and read the email one day, I realized that Netflix was saving me the issue of having to sit down and scan through the hundreds of titles on its platform and was instead suggesting a curated selection of shows and movies I might like.
Automation makes life easier. It makes doing good things far easier. If you can do a little work now to ensure you don’t have to think about resolutions later, then you will see far better success. For example, if you were wanting to remind yourself to go to the gym, you could setup your schedule to allow you to head to the gym after work and schedule an appointment at 4:00 PM - an hour before you are done at work.
Or, if you were wanting to ensure that you remember to have a lot of good and healthy fats available to you, you can set things like organic coconut oil and MCT oil to be automatically ordered on Amazon and delivered to you every month.
Remember, the less you have to think about that sort of stuff, the easier it is to be successful with it!
If you’ve ever had a gym buddy, then you know that it’s far less easy to skip the gym if you have to check in with someone else. That’s one of the reasons why Weight Watchers works - that weigh-in every week holds you accountable to someone else as far as your progress and failures.
We’re social creatures - and when you get someone in your tribe involved in your success, you’ll find that the both of you are invested in making sure it happens. As natural pack animals, that help and support is very important to ensure our success
Something that I have noticed anecdotally is that women are far more likely to help support each other compared to men. Not that men can’t and won’t be supportive, but I just have noticed more women lending a lot of emotional support for others who are looking to improve their health and wellness. It’s pretty awesome.
Even if it’s not someone you encounter in real life, having accountability on social media or an online forum is also good to ensure that you check-in and keep track of your progress towards your goals. Some of the most successful methods of accountability I’ve seen are on Reddit to be honest.
Not letting mistakes stop you
Some people think that failure is a sign that things aren’t going well, and that they need to either drastically change things or abandon things.
This isn’t true. We’re not robots, so we make human error. Sometimes we override our rationality with emotionality. Sometimes we have too many cheat meals. Sometimes we just break down and eat the bacon cheeseburger.
When this happens, don’t freak out. It’s not the end of the world. You are allowed to make mistakes, you don’t have to be perfect in order to be successful. In fact, I would argue that making mistakes or failing is part of instilling a good habit for the long term - you learn and you grow from those mistakes, and sometimes learning a very important aspect about yourself in the process.
Eliminate as many obstacles as possible
When we’re looking at making good decisions for our health, it’s important that we don’t get in our own way and that we make it as easy as possible.
The idea is to remove any and all obstacles, hindrances and limitations to allow for the resolution to pass through easily and readily. Why make things harder than they have to be?
For example, if you were wanting to exercise more often, you could remove more obstacles to actually getting to exercise. Maybe you could pack your bag at night so in the morning it’s easy and ready to just pick up and go. Or perhaps you might just head to the gym straight after work so you don’t have to head home first. Or maybe you even setup a home gym so you don’t have to go elsewhere to work out!
Whatever your resolution is, think about any obstacles you have encountered in the past or might anticipate coming up. How can you avoid them? Or can you find a way to eliminate them entirely?
Above all, just keep trying
Even if you don’t exactly reach your goal weight, or hit your goal of running a marathon or being able to do the splits, remember that you’re still making yourself a better person. A better, healthier, version of yourself. I want you to promise me that you’re not going to beat yourself up too much so long as you’re putting in the time and effort.
Wishing you a great rest of 2018
Think over those resolutions and how you’re going to make those stick this year! Let me know what your resolution is below.
Also, if you’re looking to go on the keto diet as part of your 2019 resolutions, I might be able to help with that.