It’s that season again – making New Year’s resolutions that you know will improve your quality of life, if only you could keep the habits past the first day of February! It happens to the best of us, and gym regulars get to see it in action as the crowds waiting for the treadmills thin out throughout the first months of the year. It takes some work, but you really can keep the promises you made to yourself this New Year’s, and here are seven secrets that will help you out:
“Eat healthy,” “get fit,” and “be more organized” are common goals, but what do these things mean? Are you trying to lose 10 pounds, or are you training for a triathlon? What does “organized” mean for your office or home? Are you trying to cut down on desserts? Ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve, and find specific ways to get you to that goal.
2. Be consistent in your efforts.
Being consistent when starting a new routine or process is the tried and true way to make that routine a habit. Working out or cooking at home sporadically is definitely better than not doing it at all, but being consistent in the first few weeks and months will ensure that you carry that behavior on throughout the year. The general consensus is that it takes 21 days to cement a habit – so 21 days of packing your lunch, or about 5 weeks of working out 4 times a week will ingrain that behavior into your routine.
3. Remind yourself of your goals.
This means not only what you’re supposed to be doing, but what the end result of these behaviors will be. If you’re trying to work out, don’t rely on your memory and willpower, especially in the beginning – write out a time in your calendar to be at the gym. Seeing the plan written out for yourself will make it harder to back out. If you need help reminding yourself, grab a friend to be accountable with!
4. Focus your energy.
It’s been shown that making a bunch of resolutions at once decreases the likelihood that you will follow through on any of them, even if they’re all small goals. Pick one or two things that you’d really like to see happen for yourself this year, and focus on that.
Rewarding yourself for following through will help keep you on track with your resolutions, but these should be appropriate rewards. A reward of ice cream for working out 3 times this week doesn’t make much sense, but a nice shirt to exercise in or a yoga mat does. If your goal is to be more organized, and you’re putting in the effort, splurge on a productivity app you wouldn’t normally buy, or an elegant datebook.
6. Forgive yourself.
Be prepared for stops and starts in your quest to better yourself this year. It’s okay if you skip a day of going to the gym or you bite your fingernails during an especially suspenseful movie, but it’s not okay if you use that slip-up as an excuse to totally give up! Get back to your routine the next day and allow these mistakes to happen without beating yourself up.
7. Set yourself up for success.
If you want to stop pressing snooze, try putting your alarm on the other side of the room. If you’re trying to read more, take a half hour to make a list of books you want to read. Keep tennis shoes in your car, pack your lunch the night before – help yourself out in small ways, and your resolutions will be much easier to keep.
Good luck this year – we at Protection 1 believe in your ability to make a healthier, happier, safer year for yourself!