New year, new you. It’s something we all go through every year. This is the year we will lose weight, get a new job, be healthier, quit smoking, live life more, make more time for people, be calmer, stop wasting so much time on social media. Yet most people will give up on their New Year Resolutions by the end of the month. Some of us will quit even earlier than that. Gym membership experiences a spike every January, but those new members soon trickle away. With all the best intentions in the world, we simply stop pursuing our goals. So how do we keep ourselves motivated when we’re determined to do it right this time?
Set Small Goals
“Lose weight, get fit, join the gym” – all noble goals but they are so broad, requiring a massive change in lifestyle that you may soon feel overwhelmed at the prospect and give up on the idea. Those who have the most success in their New Year Resolutions tend to think smaller. Something along the lines of swimming twice per week is a small and attainable goal. Dry January (where people pledge not to drink alcohol during the first month of the year) is another such small and achievable goal. Even giving up smoking can start with reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke.
Set Milestones for Larger Goals
But what if your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight for something like a wedding? Larger goals are much easier to attain by breaking them down into smaller targets. Aim to lose 1lb per week and maintain it throughout the year until you reach the desired weight. This doesn’t just apply to losing weight. If your aim is to reduce your reliance on social media, set yourself a day per week where you will not interact or limit yourself to certain times each day. Sometimes, it’s about breaking bad habits.
Find a Support Partner
This is relatively easy to do if you have a friend or a partner with similar or identical goals. You can support and encourage each other during the good and the bad days. Exercise is fun when you have somebody to go to the gym, a swim or run with and they can be your motivation on the days when you’re feeling apathetic. It’s easy to run out of motivation when we have nobody to compete with or help but most people report success when they have a support network.
This is a useful tip for people wishing to lose weight, stop smoking or otherwise to get fit and healthy in the new year. When you remove the temptation of cigarettes or reduce the amount of junk food you buy, it’s easier to focus on your goals. Aim to remove or reduce the number of biscuits, cakes, sweets and crisps from your weekly grocery shopping and you can’t be tempted by what is not in the refrigerator or cupboards. Swap them out for healthier alternatives such as dried fruit and nuts.
But Don’t Deprive Yourself
One of the worst things you can do is completely deprive yourself. You’ll end up punishing yourself for any transgression and overdo it. The key to successful goals is to allow yourself the occasional slip-up but living by the philosophy of “everything in moderation”. The occasional bar of chocolate or glass of wine as a reward for weight loss will work. There are few exceptions – with the vow to give up smoking one of them. However, you can apply this philosophy to smoking. Treat yourself to a gift for having gone X amount of time without a cigarette. Or better yet, put the money you saved on tobacco towards a holiday.