So, have you decided on your New Year’s resolutions yet?
No, we haven’t misread the date; we know it’s only September. But now is actually the perfect time to make changes to your life.
Here we explain why getting a head start can help you to stick to your goals of getting healthy and losing weight.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until The New Year
New research into the common practice of making resolutions at the start of January has provided some pretty depressing statistics.
It’s been shown that 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first two weeks of January.
So, by around January 15th, a quarter of our resolutions of green juices, gym trips, and no more takeouts have been forgotten.
Even more depressingly, by the end of January, 50% of those resolutions have been broken.
Why are we so bad at keeping our New Year’s resolutions? It’s actually a combination of bad resolutions and bad timing.
January might be the first month of the year, but freezing weather and post-holiday hangovers do not make for a good month to diet and start exercising.
Perhaps even more importantly, we’re often too hard on ourselves. Resolutions shouldn’t be so strict – there should be room for maneuvering.
And forget those all-or-nothing promises of doing anything every day or never. But how do you make resolutions that will last longer than a few weeks? Here’s how…
Get A Head Start
The kids are back to school, and summer is almost over, so it’s the perfect time to start afresh with a new resolve for the season ahead.
If you’d like to make positive changes to your lifestyle, such as exercising or eating more nutritiously, then there’s no time like the present.
Why Starting Your Resolutions Early Works
Often we put off resolutions until January, it feels like we have to change everything at once.
By planning your resolutions in advance, you are allowing yourself more time to think about your goals and how to achieve them.
You can then start incorporating new changes into your life sustainably so that by the time January rolls around, your resolutions have become a habit that you already know you can stick to.
Since you’re setting your own date and your own goals, you’ll feel more in control, and reassessing your plan is all just a part of fine-tuning the new healthier lifestyle you’re working towards.
Focusing on your resolutions now also removes the psychological effect of treating your ‘future self’ as separate from who you are now.
The person you are today is someone who achieves his or her goals, so don’t give an imaginary future self all the credit; this is you, and you are going to do it.
And the good news is that research into the effectiveness of resolutions also found that: “you have a 32% higher chance of achieving your New Year’s resolutions if you start in September and engage in self-concordant goals.”
But what does that mean?
Set Self-Concordant Goals
Self-concordant goals are goals that are in line with your ‘True Self,’ as explained by psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott.
Essentially, these goals come from within and have personal meaning to you, making them more likely to receive sustained effort over time.
In contrast, goals that don’t reflect your internal drive and are pursued due to external factors (e.g., social pressure) are more likely to be abandoned when obstacles occur.
So, while one person may want to lose weight to improve their health, another might find the thought of dropping a few dress sizes more motivational.
The journey is likely to be similar, but the psychology fueling the motivation is different.
Many of our resolutions are forgotten because they don’t support our self-concordant goals. So, it’s worth taking some time to assess what’s fueling your desire to lose weight.
By gaining better insight into the reasons behind your resolutions, you can reinforce your motivation with positive affirmations that the ways you intend to achieve them bring you closer to what your true self desires and deserves.
Your body might be doing the hard work, but it’s your brain you have to convince yourself that this is a good idea!
However, as well as a final goal, you need to plan out how you will achieve it, which means making resolutions you can turn into new healthy habits.
How To Make Resolutions You Can Keep
You’ve got a head start on the January rush, and you have a clear self-concordant goal fueling your plan, but what changes will you make?
Here are some common resolution mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. No More All Or Nothing
Maybe you’ve resolved to cut out all sugar, or maybe you’ve sworn off pizza for good. Or maybe you’ve resolved to go for a run every day.
The problem with these types of resolutions is that they are too easy to break. One cake, one slice of pizza, or one day when you skipped your run, and that’s it, resolution broken!
Be careful with the wording of your resolution; even if you’re the only one who knows about it, make sure it doesn’t include dangerous words like ‘never’ or ‘every day’.
2. But, Be Specific
Maybe you’ve resolved to ‘do more exercise’, but what does that actually mean?
In theory, this is a good resolution, as we could all benefit from more exercise.
But, the problem is that it isn’t specific enough for you to aim for, which means that it’s easy to let exercise fall by the wayside as you’re not committing yourself to anything concrete.
It’s better to set yourself a goal to exercise a certain number of times per week.
Once a week is enough if you’re just starting to exercise, and then you can work your way up to two or three times a week by a set date.
Specific goals work with healthy eating, too, such as aiming to eat at least two vegetables with your dinner or drinking eight glasses of water per day.
3. Focus On Quality, Not Quantity
Whether it’s a certain number of gym trips per week or a certain number of calories per day, we tend to focus on figures when setting our resolutions.
But, healthy habits are more about quality than quantity. So, when it comes to exercise, remember to vary your routine to keep your interest up.
And, being sure to incorporate strength training to build muscle will help to burn more fat as well as stop you from getting bored.
As far as calorie counting goes, it’s a great way to guide yourself into a healthier diet. But, you also need to focus on eating nutritious food and not just whatever has the fewest calories.
Make sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber every day. And don’t forget nutrients for good health and weight loss support, such as iron, calcium, B vitamins, and many others you might miss out on.
So, have we convinced you to get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions, right here, right now? Share your goals and resolutions with us by commenting below!