A new year is the perfect time to adopt more desirable behaviours in the hope to live a happier and healthier life. More often than not these aspirations will not manifest into victory.
My intention for this blog is to identify a few of the common mistakes people make when deciding on their New Year’s resolutions, and to share some ideas for constructing realistic goals for 2021.
#1 Too much too soon
Error: Setting unrealistic goals at the start of the year in the hope that you can transform yourself overnight.
Resolution: Instead of trying to change everything at once, it is better to make incremental changes that can be more easily achieved. By setting realistic goals that can be altered over time, success is more likely.
If your goal is to start going to the gym, then begin by working out once or twice a week. Once you have this mastered, consider adding an extra visit. Trying to go from no exercise to working out every day is not the way forward.
#2 Not identifying your ‘why’
Error: Not understanding the reasoning behind a resolution.
Resolution: Having a good motivational drive is integral to success. It’s important to identify why the goal is important to you on a personal level.
You may want to work harder at University, but it is important to uncover why this is important to you. Maybe it is because you want to graduate and secure your dream job. Whatever your reasoning, make sure you identify it and use it to motivate your behaviours.
#3 Wishy-washy goals
Error: Setting a haphazard goal with no specificity or personalisation.
Resolution: Keep the goal relevant to you and include fine details. The more specific you can make your goal, the more vivid it will be in your imagination and the more encouraged you will be to succeed.
Adopting a healthy diet is always a popular resolution but this leaves much ambiguity. Think about what a healthy diet for YOU would look like. For example, ‘I will eat five portions of fruit or vegetables each day’ is much more specific than ‘I will eat a healthier diet’.
#4 Not checking in
Error: Not measuring or tracking progress will result in the inability to know how you are doing and whether changes need to be adopted for success.
Resolution: Keepings a written record of your progress with help to sustain the ‘can do’ attitude, keep you accountable, and ensure you are moving in the right direction.
If your goal is to drink more water, then the only way to know if you are succeeding is to track how much you are drinking each day.
#5 Not setting the date
Error: Without a deadline of achievement, motivation can dwindle and often the attitude of ‘I will do it tomorrow’ is adopted.
Resolution: Set an end date for targets to keep the pressure on and stop any avoidance of the tasks at hand.
If your goal is to run a 10km then enter yourself in an event at the start of the year. The pressure of a looming race is sure to keep you motivated.
If you would like to get involved in a 10k event, why not try out the virtual Purple Wave?
#6 All or nothing attitude
Giving up completely when something goes wrong.
Accepting that slip-ups are likely and are a part of the behaviour change process. The ability to pick yourself up and carry on after a setback is vital for triumph.
Does the occasional sweet treat completely undo an overall healthy diet? No, of course not! As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.
#7 Enduring not enjoying
Error: No one can bring themselves to do something they hate consistently, so planning a resolution that you will dislike doing is not going to work.
Resolution: The best plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life and one which you can appreciate.
Participating in a sport you love rather than dragging yourself to the gym will be much more effective in any fitness venture.
I hope this guide will help to inform your 2021 goals and keep you from falling into the ‘new year, new me’ pitfalls.