The first week of January is in full swing and for many this means they are already grappling with their New Year's resolutions.
"New year, new me" - a phrase you've probably heard before, if you haven't already said it yourself. The New Year is traditionally a time when people make resolutions. However, many people find it difficult to stick to their resolutions, with some not even lasting through the first week.
Now that we are four days into January and the New Year, it is time to create a little guide to help you stick to your resolutions once and for all. There is a reason we make them, so why not try our best to actually make it last longer than a week?
Ever heard of the 21/90 rule? It is about building habits and making them a permanent lifestyle change. The rule states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change.
21 days or three weeks doesn’t seem so bad does it?
DON'T wait for the perfect time or date to begin, it does not exist. I personally like to start when a new month or a new week is beginning, always wanting to have one last day or week of fun. However, this has often meant I never actually went through with my planned change of habit. So no matter what you resolve to do and what your resolution is: every long journey begins with the first step. So don't think too long about your resolution and don't put off implementing it. Start with it. Now! This will release additional motivation.
DO formulate positive and realistic resolutions, since they are easier to keep. Setting high goals is noble since only in this way can we rise above ourselves. But the resolutions must also remain realistic and feasible. Otherwise, failure is inevitable since excessive demands to yourself weaken self-discipline.
DON'T create vague resolutions and be as precise as possible. Good resolutions must not be made on a whim and they must above all be concrete. "Lose weight next year" is too vague. "Lose 5 kilos in the first three months" is more ambitious. It is measurable and something feasible to actually work towards.
DO think about your resolutions and how you can keep them. Sooner or later, reality will catch up with every plan. Think about what could happen that might surprise you - and what you can do as an alternative. This way you always have a plan B in your pocket for your resolutions.
DON'T take on resolutions that are not your idea and where you try to fulfil someone else’s expectation. If you are working towards someone else's goals, the motivation hardly lasts more than two weeks. Furthermore you should always be doing things like this for yourself, otherwise it is impossible for you to implement real change.
DO write down your successes and try to reward yourself regularly for (partial) success. Not necessarily with food or sweets but you can also put aside some money to fulfil your heart's desire later. Every change, every small step forward is a success for which you should reward yourself. I gave myself a 15-20€ budget for reaching different steps and once I reached a goal, I would get something fun. On top of that, every step towards the goal creates a sense of achievement.
DON'T take on too much at once at the beginning of the year. They may be good resolutions, but multiple resolutions can often seem like a giant, insurmountable mountain. This can be discouraging and lead to you giving up. You should not do things by half-heartedly, so avoid unrealistic or too many goals to increase your chance of success.
Most importantly, DO have fun. Resolutions are not about restricting your lifestyle but about making a positive change in your life. It is never too late to start, so if this article inspired you, GO YOU! It is not supposed to be a smothering experience. Create some small challenges to make things more interesting, find some allies that you can talk and relate to, and do not forget that life isn’t too serious.