Secrets to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

  • 23 Jan 2013
  • Reading time 4 mins
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Can you usually keep your resolve for your New Year’s resolutions, or does your will power start to wane after a week or two? Here are some tips that will help you stick to them, long after the first few weeks of January.

The first step is to pick your resolution carefully. Vague resolutions like ‘eat better’ or ‘exercise more’ are hard to quantify and easy to fudge and eventually, forget. You’ll have a much better chance of succeeding if you make SMART goals. Keep them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Making a specific resolution of running a mile, two times a week, will dramatically improve your odds. Don’t be too hard on yourself. January can be the hardest, most depressing month of the year. Unless you've been really good all Christmas, your body will have a real hangover. After a few weeks of drinking too much alcohol and eating too much sugar it takes time to rewire your brain and your blood chemistry to get back on track.

Stay positive. I don't mean ‘be optimistic’ although that’s always good! I mean that it's easier to eliminate a bad habit when you replace it with a good one. So, if your resolution involves ‘no more sugary snacks at work,’ make sure you pack healthy low GL snacks to take to work every day. Don’t underestimate the power of small changes. Because these are easier to stick to they are more likely to become ingrained habits than radical overhauls that are unrealistic and doomed to failure. If you need to lose a couple of pounds, start by cutting out the little extras, for example, by swapping daily lattes for herbal teas, you stand to save over 2300 calories a week by making this one small change. Write it down. When you are trying to change a habit it can be helpful to keep a note of your daily activities.

If you are trying to cut down on sugar, keep track of how much you take in. If you want to get into the habit of exercising regularly, chart your daily mileage or calories burned. If you are trying to stop out-of-control spending, write down everything you spend for a couple of weeks. If you have a smart-phone, there are all kinds of apps that make this fun and easy or just keep a small pad and pen with you. Focus on your actions, not your progress. Researchers at Yale University believe the trick to sticking to your resolutions is to stay focused on your commitment to your actions and not to pay too much attention to your results. Find a support network. Research shows that support and encouragement from others with the same goals is a big help.

If you’re interested in healthy eating, zest4life is a nationwide network of low GL diet groups and a great place to interact with people who are also interested in eating healthy. Family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues are other great sources of support. Go public. To give your resolution a little extra staying power, share it with others. There's something about making your resolution public that makes it just a little harder to abandon. Why not post your resolution below or share it on my Facebook page. And if you want to raise the bar a little bit, log on to stickK.com, where you can put your money where your mouth is by making your resolution public and bet on yourself. If you fail to stick to your resolution, your money goes to a worthy cause that you designate beforehand, so it’s win- win! If you fall off the wagon, just get back on. Think of this as a process not failure, remember, it takes time to break a habit. And just in case you’re wondering, here are the top ten resolutions:

1. Lose weight

2. Stop smoking

3. Stick to a budget

4. Save more money

5. Find a better job

6. Become more organised

7. Exercise more

8. Be more patient at work / with others

9. Eat better

10. Become a better person

Here’s to making  this year healthiest, happiest, most productive year ever!

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