Happy New Year! First up, I hope you had a great festive break and spent your time doing what you love the most – and rung in 2019 with a glass of something nice in your hand (whether that was vintage champagne or a simply cup of tea, you deserved it.) I’ve been on a total work hiatus for almost two weeks, for the first time in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the perspective and freshness that time has given me; I’m excited to get stuck into a new year and grasp with both hands all the opportunities it brings, kicking off with some resolutions and goals for the next twelve months. But often those resolutions are hard to keep and fall by the wayside, with around two thirds of us not even seeing them through to the end of January. So if you are looking to make some kind of change and want to how to stick to your new year’s resolution and be a ‘better you’ beyond those first few weeks, read on…
(On a side note, I fully intended to use these festive images sooner but I was far too busy being un-busy… So I’m going with the fact the decorations don’t have to come down for a few days yet, and embracing that in digital form too! I look cute, and this sparkly dress was too good to not share.)
As the month of January commences, you just know that every social media feed, daytime show, newspaper and magazine will be filled with damaging messaging around detoxing, dieting, quitting or starting something new; messages that fill us with guilt and anxiety after an inevitably over-indulgent festive period, where we’re told to scoff our faces and then hang them in shame less than a fortnight later. January brings with it the question ‘what new years resolutions have you made?’ and we feel under pressure to respond with something that makes us seem at one with our wellbeing, super intellectual or like we’ve got all the money in the world to actually attend yoga every week / travel once a month / take up horse riding.
Realistically January 1st is just another day, but it brings with it a huge amount of pressure to start ‘living our best lives’. I’m telling you now, if you weren’t motivated on December 1st to kick that habit, start a new hobby or detox your body and mind, you sure as hell won’t be come January 1st. A new year does, however, bring with it an opportunity to reset and draw a metaphorical line under whatever happened in the previous twelve months – and often it’s all you need to kick-start new habits, rediscover your motivation or try new things. So, do you want to know my tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolution and achieve the goals you want this year and beyond, whatever they may be?
1. What’s The Reason Why?
Before you commit to any crazy resolution, think about why you want to undertake the challenge. Is it for health reasons, because you want to save money, to tick off a life-long goal, or simply just to try something new? Deciding to quit smoking or go to the gym three times a week is all well and good, but if you’re doing it just because you think you should rather than because you want to you’ll inevitably fall at the first hurdle.
2. Make Lifestyle Changes
The majority of us could probably do with a healthier approach to living after the festive break, but going on a crash diet or quitting something cold turkey will just leave you craving what you’re cutting out. Embracing overall lifestyle changes is far easier approach, as your resolution will just become part of a new normal; it’s said that it takes around three weeks to form a new habit, so making smaller changes that you can embrace on a weekly basis will be far more effective. Try meat-free Mondays, exercise Wednesdays or treat Fridays so that new habit just becomes part of your regular life.
3. Set Short & Long-Term Goals
Promising yourself you’re going to lose three stone this year or see out 2019 as a yoga enthusiast may seem a great idea the first week of January, but how are you going to ensure that you achieve your goal come twelve months later? It’s all about breaking down those goals into short and long term targets. What do you want to achieve by the spring, summer and autumn to ensure you’re on track and don’t give up? What smaller target can you establish to keep you motivated and making those smaller achievable changes that will leave you feeling accomplished?
4. Have An Action Plan
I’m a firm believer in breaking down what you want to achieve into a list of actionable points, which set you up to win (rather than floundering about wondering what went wrong.) If you want to travel more, maybe it’s about putting aside £100 a month into a travel fund or pre-booking trips throughout the year that you can pay off gradually; if it’s about getting your work-life balance right, maybe turning off your phone at 7pm every night and ensuring your weekends include at least one sociable moment is a good place to start; if you want to become healthier, maybe booking in a weekly exercise class or committing to pre-cook your lunches for the week is a great way to make that happen. Dream big, but break that dream down into little manageable steps.
5. Understand That Trip Ups Will Happen
Nobody is perfect, no matter what those Instagram influencers will have you believe. We’ll all have those days when we just want to eat a slab of chocolate / order a takeaway / watch Netflix instead of going to the gym, but allowing your body and mind to do what it wants every so often is just as important as keeping yourself on track. Don’t punish yourself for tripping up or falling off the wagon, instead re-visiting those short-term goals and action plan for motivation and steps you can implement to get yourself back on track and ensure you stick to your new year’s resolution.
So, what do I want to achieve over the next twelve months? This year I want to (predictably) get healthier by cutting back on the carbs that leave me feeling bloated and sluggish, while preparing meals in advance to ensure my diet is well balanced. (Hello new slow cooker!) I’m also committing to getting back on track with my three-times-a-week gym visits that have reduced to once or twice a week in the last couple of months, because I know it benefits both my body and mind. I want to keep building my business and pushing myself creatively, as well as ensuring 2019 is the year I see more of my loved ones and my money is spent less on things and more on experiences. I don’t want to drop three dress sizes, and I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on myself – I just want to kick start the year off in a positive way and be kind to myself, both inside and out. Why not try and do the same, however small those steps may be?
Wishing you all the best for the next twelve months and beyond.
Do you have any tips on how to stick to your new year’s resolution?
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