Every year on January 1st people around the world set a wide variety of resolutions for themselves including: “I will work out regularly this year,” “I won’t eat fast food anymore,” and “ I will finally stop drinking!” Statistics even tell us that January 1st is one of the days with the highest gym membership registration rates. Most people have set these types of resolutions for themselves at one point or another. These resolutions may have even worked for a few days.
But over the course of January, new resolutions slowly diminish, and people return to their usual habits with wished-for goals losing their luster. One of many reasons for this phenomenon is that people take on too much at once. Rome was not built overnight, and it is not realistic that people will completely change their lifestyle in a day either.
A further problem: many resolutions are vague and general, and not concretely formed. What does it mean to eat healthier? For one person that might just mean giving up their daily chocolate bar. For another that might mean fundamentally changing the way they eat. Working out regularly can for active people mean two more workouts per week to incorporate into their exercise plan – for others, though, once a week going for a half-hour walk would be in itself a big improvement.
-Set realistic goals for yourself. Look at yourself and at what you do already, and attempt to go further with what you already do. If you work out twice a week, work out three times. If you run a mile once a week, try running 1.5 miles a week. Don’t set your goals too high and far from where you currently are – and if you do, make sure you have first steps planned – intermediate goals.
-Define your goals concretely and exactly. “Work out more” isn’t enough – add into your goals exactly how much, and how often you will do it.
-Write your goals down with pen and paper. Talk is cheap – and quickly forgotten. Write out your resolutions and tape them to your door, or your refrigerator, or somewhere that you will see them often.
-Reward yourself: if you want to really pursue your goals, add in some positive reinforcement when you succeed. Perhaps go to the movies, or out with friends, or shopping, after you reach a milestone.