You start with great intentions. Drink less alcohol, lose weight, save more and spend less… the list goes on. And you start well, and then, by February, March things slip. And then slip some more. And before you know it, you’re back to where you were the year before, wondering how you managed to let yourself down AGAIN!
Despite the statistics, making resolutions, at New Year or any other time, doesn’t have to end in failure. There are some simple things you can do to identify the changes you want to make in your life, and ACHIEVE THEM! How exciting does that sound!
Tip 1 – The LANGUAGE
Let’s look a the language around resolutions, or goals. HOW we articulate our goals can have a profound affect on whether we achieve them or not.
So let’s take one at the top of the list, Lose Weight as the example. If you don’t want to lose weight, just take the principals and apply them to whatever it is you’re wanting to achieve – save more, drink less….. you get the idea.
Firstly, the language ‘Lose Weight’ is suspect, because we usually try to find what we lose. Lost your cars keys, your sock, a book? You’ll want to find it, that’s for sure.
The way our brains work seems a bit weird sometimes, but basically if you tell it something, it will either believe you (it has no concept of truth or fiction); or it will try to make it happen so your outer world matches your inner world.
So you know you want to find what’s lost, then you ‘lose’ weight, and voila! Your brain will direct you to the ways in which you’ll find it again. So perhaps you could change the language to something like ‘Shed kilos’ or ‘Slim down’. Or, and this might be a bit contrary, but bear with me, don’t talk about the weight. Turn it into something positive such as: ‘get fitter, stronger, more flexible’.
If you focus on a positive way of describing your desired outcome, your chances of achieving it improve.
Tip 2: PLAN AHEAD
Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day (with a hangover) to make your resolution.
Think about it before NYE, and start to think how you’ll achieve it. So if you wish to ‘be fitter, stronger, more flexible’, then make the changes in your life to support your goal.
Find at least one movement you like and work it into your week. It doesn’t have to be the gym. It could be dancing such as zumba, pole dancing (which is great for your core and will definitely make you fitter, stronger and more flexible). It could be yoga, tai chi, swimming or tennis. It could even be dog walking – got any neighbours with dogs?
Haven’t done anything for ages and don’t really know what you’d like to do? Then write down the list of things you could do, and date one.
What I mean is just choose one and do it for a month, or a term (many of these types of movement activities run in terms, which is a great way to really check it out to see if you like it).
You’ll know by the end of that time if it’s something you enjoy. If it’s not, then, date the next one on the list. By the end of the year you might end up with two or three things you just love – and finding time for them in your week is no difficulty.
Tip 3: CHOOSE ONE
A further issue with resolutions is that people try to take on too much. If you have three things you want to change, prioritise them and choose the one you want most. Just one, and schedule the others for later in the year.
Because once you drill down, there will be several different aspects to making this change and these will need to be incorporated into your life.
Let’s look at ‘be fitter, strong, more flexible’ example.
First there is an movement component. We’ve had a look at that.
There is also a quality sleep component – you won’t be at your best for a new movement program if you’re lacking energy. So there may be changes to make in the bedroom (not those sorts of changes – in fact, sex is great movement!).
Got a TV in there? Get rid of it. How about a computer? Yep, find somewhere else for that too, if you can. It may not always be possible, but wherever you can, reduce the amount of electrical items in your bedroom. There are many scientific studies that point to the way electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) upset our sleep, and keeping your bedroom as free of these items as possible can only help.
And don’t go checking your phone or tablet just before bed either. The back light emits a blue light, and blue light is the enemy of sleep because it upsets your melatonin production. This is because exposure to EMFs impede melatonin production – and it’s melatonin that help regulate our sleep.
There is also the food aspect being fitter, stronger and more flexible.
Maintaining a movement program (notice I’m calling it a movement program, not exercise? Another brain trick – how many of us cringe at the word exercise!) requires your body to have the right fuel. So it may be you need to review what you eat, when you eat it and how you eat.
Yes, how you eat. Does your meal disappear quickly? Does your body have time to get the message from the stomach to the brain that you are full? If you start to chew your food more slowly, you will eat less. Between 30-50 chews per mouthful – the close to 50 the better. (Of course, if your food disappears or liquifies before then, you don’t have to keep chewing!)
What you eat is a bit of a no brainer. In case you missed the world wide news, whole foods (that is foods eaten as close to their original form as possible) are far better for you. Why? Because anything that is done to a food other than cooking it, that is putting it in a packet and storing it, or turning it into something else (like potatoes into potato chips) reduces it’s quality, and introduces a bunch of chemicals into your system.
When you eat is also really important. You really need to have three hours between your last meal, and returning for the evening. That gives you body time to digest and you’re not sleeping on it.
Tip 4 – BE REALISTIC
Make sure that what you want to achieve is realistic. If you want to lose five kilos, and you love ice cream, saying you’ll never eat ice cream again is not going to work. Instead, identify times when you can reward yourself with an ice cream. Incorporate it into your plan for the week and enjoy it. It probably won’t be too long before you’ll look at the ice cream and decide it’s not worth it!
Tip 5 – SHARE YOUR GOALS
It’s easier to achieve your resolutions when you have buddies to help you achieve it. They may not have to do anything with you, like the gym, but they will notice the changes because they are aware of them. Friends can also support you when you’re finding the going a bit tough.
Next week I’ll have Part 2 of the Top 10 Tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions STICK!
Please get in touch if you have any resolutions you want to share, or any questions you want to ask.
Until then, Happy New Year!