As we go into full swing on Summer holidays 2022, it’s a good time to reflect on whether we actually stuck to those New Year resolutions many of us set for ourselves back in January. Did you get in shape for Summer? Stick to a healthier eating plan? Establish a consistent workout routine? Things were probably going so well in the first week, perhaps even the second. Then you slipped up on one day, then another, and then you felt as though there was no point at all to keep it going. Why do these New Year resolutions rarely stick? And why do we end up self-sabotaging our health and wellbeing as a result? Here are some of the reasons why:
- You Are Trying To Change Too Much At Once?
One of the best ways to achieve any sort of behaviour change is to gradually and gently introduce one new behaviour at a time until it becomes a habit. However, trying to completely overhaul something like your diet, lifestyle or exercise regime overnight will be difficult to maintain long-term. The reason for this is that we can experience a lot of resistance to drastic change. We are creatures of habit and we love our routines. You may notice that you just naturally eat the same things on rotation or that you naturally fall back into the same patterns in other areas of your life. As creatures of habit, we also do not like going through a lot of change in one go. This is why gradual change tends to be much more effective at building sustainable habits.
- You Got Stuck In All-Or-Nothing Thinking?
Another reason that our January goals fail are because they are too rigid. Let’s say that you want to improve your diet, you may have decided to completely stop eating sugar or processed food. Then you go to your friend’s house and she offers you some cake that she has just made. You decide to eat some to be a good guest, but now you feel that you have “ruined it”, so you might as well give up. This is an example of all-or-nothing thinking. Your goals/rules are so strict and rigid that when you break the goal or rule, you end up giving up altogether. Therefore, it is much more helpful to build flexible goals that allow for you to have some cake sometimes and to not feel the need to be really strict with what you are aiming for.
- Your Goals Were Not Aligned With What You Want For Yourself Long-Term?
Sometimes your vision for what you want for yourself short-term isn’t aligned with what you really want for yourself long-term. For example, let’s say set a goal to exercise for 1.5 hours every single day. This may sound great but it may also actually be completely impractical with the lifestyle that you currently lead. Exercising this much every day may mean, for example, not seeing friends in the evening, spending enough time with family or ever going to a work event. Your short-term goal is not aligned with what will work for you long-term.
- You Changed Your Habits Without Changing Your Mindset?
This is one of the most important yet often overlooked reasons to consider. It’s typical for us to desire changing our behaviours and habits without working on changing our mindset. For example, you may force yourself to go and work out, even though you actually hate going to gym and really don’t look forward to it. You are trying to force a behaviour without really changing how you think about that behaviour. When I work with clients, shifting their mindset is the most powerful way to change their behaviours long-term. Once you shift your mindset to wanting to nourish your body value and prioritise your health, eating healthier food and moving your body more won’t feel like a chore. You just naturally engage in behaviours that are aligned with your positive mindset.
- It Is Easier To Go Back Into Old Ways If There Are No Consequences For Not Staying The Course?
Having some sort of accountability can really help you to stay motivated to follow through with a goal that you have set yourself. If there is nobody cheering you along or nobody that you have to keep up with something for, it will be very easy to slip back into old habits. This is why ensuring that you have some support and accountability as you try to make changes in your life is essential.
- You Are Trying To Change Your Habits Without Changing Your Self-Perception?
We will often live up to our own self-perception. If you see yourself as an over-eater, you are effectively giving yourself permission to over-eat. Alternatively, if you saw yourself as an athlete, you are likely to exercise and train even on days where you don’t really feel like it. Our self-perception really shapes our behaviours. So in order to change our behaviours long-term, we really need to think of ourselves as someone who just naturally engages in the behaviours that we want to engage in.
What steps are you going to make today to get back on track?
Be kind to yourself if you slip up, it’s ok but continue on your journey and enjoy those results….
About The Author
Amanda Grant is a weight loss coach and fitness trainer who helps busy women lose weight for good without severe restriction or dieting. You can learn more about her services at www.sculptrition.com or get in touch at email@example.com to book in a free consultation.