Want your New Year’s Resolutions to stick? Do These Things.
As we near the end of 2020, I want to address something that I often think is a recipe for failure. New Year’s resolutions.
We all set them—every year. We come at the new year with the mentality of “new year, new me.” We will do whatever we want in December and then change all our ways come January 2 (we can’t start on New Year’s Day, right?).
I’d be one rich lady if I bet against my own resolutions year after year. Because once the newness wears off, it’s so easy to revert to old habits. Why?
Usually, it’s because of the resolutions we set for ourselves…
- Do not realistically fit into our lifestyle.
- Consist of too much change, all at once.
- Are at an overwhelming time that significant life changes can’t become long-term.
Let’s break these points down one by one, shall we?
Resolutions must fit into your lifestyle after the sparkle of the new year has worn off.
It feels so hopeful that once the calendar flips to the new year that something in us will flip, too, and we’ll become the healthy person we want to be overnight. In fact, we’re so hopeful that we come up with insane workout plans, join gyms that aren’t near our house or work, or drop a whole lot of dollars on meal replacement shakes that will miraculously change how we’ve been eating.
I’m all for healthy lifestyles. It’s why I have a coaching program on the topic. But expecting to go from zero weekly workouts to hour-long (or longer…P90X?) strenuous workouts 6 or 7 times a week just isn’t realistic for several reasons.
- You didn’t have time for 90-minute workouts before the new year. What changes will suddenly occur to give you that time without making other changes as well?
- Going with the first reason…you didn’t make other lifestyle changes to accommodate the time needed for working out. To make the time for one thing, you usually need to shuffle some other stuff around. And it must be a long-term change, or else the overwhelm of fitting in workouts will cause you to just give up on your workout goals.
- You went from zero physical activity to a hardcore workout plan. It’s hard to complete workouts that your body isn’t ready for. So it’s easy to quit when you’re in pain and don’t feel good about your workout performance.
- A gym that is twenty-plus minutes out of the way of your usual route adds time that you didn’t have to begin with.
Setting too many goals all at once will make you feel crazy.
I understand wholeheartedly what it’s like to want something so badly that you want to do everything you can to get there right now.
But we’re human and believing that we will no longer succumb to any bad habits AND will begin a bunch of new habits with a new year is wishful thinking.
Let me share a friend’s story with you…last year, she made a PAGE LONG list of new year’s resolutions. She’d been unhappy with many things and felt that with 2020, she was going to make changes to her life that would set her in the right direction. I won’t share all of her resolutions because, you know, they took up a whole page, but she had a handful of resolutions for her health and body goals, personal finance goals, professional development goals, family goals (yelling less at her kids, spending more time with each child individually), home goals (organization and declutter), journaling and writing goals, self-care goals, marriage goals, etc.
Her list was definitely do-able over a whole year, but I understand why she fell off the wagon by February on most of them. It was too much at once. It takes 21 days at minimum to make things a new habit. But trying to make 47 changes at once is enough to make anyone crazy!
My friend had a fairly happy ending, though, because, by March, she figured out that she’d be more successful and save her sanity if she set weekly and monthly goals. And, 2020 happened, so she had more time at home to work on some resolutions that she may not have otherwise.
Make sure the timing is right.
The start of the new year sounds like a good time, right? It’s a clean slate, a chance to start fresh in January.
But depending on what your resolutions are, January comes with a whole bunch of stressors that people don’t always plan for. If you live in the Midwest as I do, snow happens. And with snow comes bad roads and school cancelations. That combo creeps in on your time – and when it’s winter and daylight hours feel scarce, losing any time can quickly push you off your game.
If you have a lengthy list of resolutions like my friend did last year, look through the list, and determine which would be more challenging to start in the winter months. Do some feed into each other, where you could start small and build with another as you get the momentum going?
Starting some goals in January is like starting something on a Monday just because it’s a Monday. Just because it’s the beginning of a spot on a calendar does not mean it’s the right time for you mentally.
Goals should be set year-round, not just at the start of a new year!
I am all about setting goals. But I’m about setting attainable goals that will become habits that feed into the long-term vision of who you want to be.
New Year’s resolutions lead to failure much of the time. When you’re failing at those year after year, does that set you up with the right mindset about goals? No way. It eats at your confidence and self-esteem. It makes you question your capabilities and leaves you feeling like crap about yourself.
Smaller goals throughout the year will pump you up mentally. Seriously, it’s psychology. As you meet little goals, your brain gets excited, and you begin to see yourself as the effective and powerful badass you are. Someone who can do anything, meet any goals you set out to achieve.
And that, my friends, is the mindset you want to have as you set all of your goals.
Focus on being healthy, not on what you think you should look like. It’s a given for most of us that throughout the holidays we will consume too much sugar. And that’s okay! Part of the season’s joy is to bake with your families, and only a robot could do this without indulging a little bit. Remember, indulging occasionally is good for the soul, too.
Here are a few tiny health swaps that aren’t super limiting, so you can start small and build on it as each one becomes a habit.
- Drink half your body weight in water.
- Fit protein into every meal to feel fuller faster and longer.
- Get 30 minutes of movement a day.
- Limit dessert to once or twice a week, not every day.
- Eat one extra veggie with dinner every day (and no, I’m not counting potatoes here.)
- Wake up 45 minutes earlier to make sure you fit in a workout.
Sometimes the mind needs to get in shape before you can work on your physical goals. If finding time to work out or a meal plan gets you feeling anxious, maybe it’s time to figure out why and what you can do to overcome that hurdle.
I think that mental goals and health goals go hand in hand, so start small to increase your chances of success. I find following a new health resolution goes smoother if I feel more control over my calendar and life.
Here are a couple of suggestions for little changes that will set you up to be mentally ready to tackle other goals.
- Set time aside on your calendar to plan out your week.
- Give yourself 5 minutes a day for gratitude or a moment to quiet your mind.
- Say one uplifting thing to yourself every morning. When we talk positively to ourselves, our mindset begins to be more positive as well. Try this while you are looking in the mirror, brushing your teeth.
Control over external things that you can control, like your calendar, overflows into your mental state. You will feel calmer, less anxious, and ready to take on your goals ONE step at a time.
We all need to work on ourselves year-round. Like I said before, if you try to do it all at one time of the year, you’ll burnout, and nothing will change. What is your top goal? To lose excess weight? To stick to a workout plan? Is it to find a new job that fulfills you more? Is it to start your own business? Is it to develop a skill or hobby?
To accomplish any of those things, you need to make time for your personal development.
I know mama guilt just as much as the next mother.
Sometimes blow things up in our minds that don’t match reality. We feel guilty, so we assume our kids feel deprived of our love and attention. Chances are, they don’t because you’re doing a good job.
There’s nothing wrong with setting goals around YOU first at the beginning of the year. As you become healthier and happier, you’ll be a happier mom, and you’ll likely begin spending more quality time with your kids organically.
Overwhelmed with where to start, but know you want to get healthier with the new year?
My Body Declutter Course can help you get 2021 started right. Learn new tools to make a healthy lifestyle attainable so you can move on to your next goal! There’s no time like January to get some coaching from someone who has been in your shoes.
And if you’re looking for more one-on-one accountability, I’d love to work with you! Together, we can find the root cause of what’s holding you back from building the life you know you can have.
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