Are you like most people, including me, using the end of the year to review the past year and make some commitments for the new year?
When I look back to years where I made big decisions, like finding a new job, building a new house, those years were usually quite successful, because these big changes required a plan to start with.
However, looking back at times, where I was unhappy with the way I looked, the way I felt, the lack of exercise in my daily life, I made some random New Year’s Resolutions e.g.: Come the New Year, I will lose weight, exercise more and will generally be healthier and happier. – Yeah! Right! – Guess what – by the end of the new year nothing had changed. – I know that I wasn’t alone. According to statistics 80 % of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February!
Last year, I sat down with a note book and reflected on the past year and set intentions for the new year. I have to say, 2018 was one of my happiest years in my life. The only thing I can attribute this to is the fact, that I knew exactly what changes I wanted to make, what had been holding me back in the past and why I had to make these changes this year.
For all of you who are planning to make New Year’s Resolutions – take your time and plan them. My example is based on some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions: Weight loss and increase exercises. After two weeks of celebrations, too much food and maybe too much alcohol, it is easy to say:
“I will go on a diet, cut out all sugar, alcohol and carbs and I will exercise nearly every day!”
Don’t set yourself up for failure by over committing.
– Even if you are super motivated in the first week of the year, there will be days when it becomes difficult to adhere to your own rules, therefore, for me, the three most important questions you have to ask yourself first are:
Why do I want this?
How much do I want it?
Who is supporting me and holding me accountable?
The answers to the first two questions should be enough motivation to keep you going through the tough days as long as you are committed to your goal.
The third question is also extremely important. What will happen if you have decided to
Only eat a certain number of calories each day? – Who is tracking this goal? - Logging your food intake in an app like myfitnesspal will help you with this challenge.
Exercise 3 times a week at a specific time. – You need a friend or a Personal Trainer to hold you accountable. If you have an appointment with somebody, you are more likely to go than if it is only up to yourself.
The next step is, to be aware that the bigger your goal, the harder you have to work for it. In other words, everything comes at a price. Are you prepared to pay the price? My favourite resource for this question in regards to weight loss is "The cost of getting lean"
Once you have found an achievable goal and you know your ‘why’ ensure your goal is specific and has small steps attached to it. Example: If you love sweets and eat them every day, aim in the first week, to only have a small serve three times a week and only on a day that you have worked for it (a 30-minute workout that increased your heart rate). In the second week cut it back to twice a week and so on.
The same applies to exercise. I have seen it too often that people start with the intention of exercising 7 days a week and after two weeks they quit all together because they feel they can’t do it and are disappointed with themselves. 3 times a week for 30 minutes is a great start. Increase the duration and frequency over time.
Life changes are made one step at a time. It is not a diet or a challenge with a beginning and an end. Therefore, the change has to be sustainable, enjoyable and something you really want to do!
Please remember, whatever age you are, you are working on your future, creating a healthier, stronger and happier version of yourself, which will allow you to live an enjoyable and independent life, improve the quality of your life and support longevity while enjoying the things you love.
Happy New Year to all!