Ok so you’re a few weeks into the new year and already you’re struggling to keep those (over-the-top) promises you solemnly made to yourself when the clock struck midnight. Like giving up chocolate and booze, losing 10kgs, running 5kms everyday, or doing 60 minutes of yoga every morning straight after your 15 minute meditation.
In fact, you’re probably already feeling like these are just dreams that will never come true, so what’s the point in even trying right? Wrong.
Here are a few tips to make sure 2014 is your best year yet:
1. Make your resolutions realistic. We all embellish at times, stating "we're never going to eat sugar or drink alcohol again", but in reality we’ve already set ourselves up for a downfall with over the top, unachievable and unsustainable goals. Instead, set goals that are time-framed, like starting a 7-28 day detox where you cut out alcohol and sugar. You can then add alcohol back into your life in moderation if you choose to, although hopefully you'll find you feel amazing without it and don't want it so much anymore. This is a far more realistic way to start good, maintainable habits.
2. Make your resolutions measurable. Don’t just throw out that you want to ‘lose weight’ in 2014. Think about a realistic amount of weight you’d like to lose in an achievable time-frame (that's about 0.5kg a wk), or - even better than focusing on the scales - perhaps how you want to look and feel in your clothes, or a certain fitness level you’d like to be at. For example, being able to run 10kms comfortably in 3 months time. Write it down, set a timeline and strive for that.
3. Don’t fall off the bandwagon just because you’ve had a bad day/week/month. You have a whole 365 days to meet your goals and avoid being a statistic in the “I didn’t reach my NY resolutions again” survey. Didn’t achieve what you thought you would in January? February is just around the corner. No excuses.
4. Start small, aim big. This means taking baby steps to get to the main goal. For example starting your day with a squeeze of lemon juice in warm water to aid digestion; putting yourself on a 7 day detox and extending it one day at a time; cutting gluten or sugar (or both!) out of your diet for a few weeks to reduce inflammation and allergies; aiming to include 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week into your daily routine; striving to eat 3 cups of salad and vegetables a day. All of these simple steps will lead to a healthier version of yourself, and you’ll (hopefully!) want to keep going as you start to see the benefits. This is way better than promising yourself to run everyday and only lasting for 2 before you give up and go back to your old ways. Find sustainable habits that you can build on and start from there.
5. Don’t beat yourself up. We all have to start somewhere and those that have been successful were once in your situation. Set yourself a time-frame and write out what you want to have achieved by certain checkpoints. If you miss a deadline, don’t be hard on yourself, simply adjust the time-frame and start again. No one ever woke up on New Years day suddenly able to run a marathon without any training: they planned their sessions, adjusted their eating habits and set weekly goals. Being successful in anything - from losing weight to starting a new business - takes time, effort, hard work and continuous reality checks. And that’s ultimately what sets those who achieve their resolutions apart from the rest of the pack.