Keeping New Year’s Resolutions – Simple?

by | Dec 30, 2016

I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. In many ways, it is a great time to consider making changes, there is a communal sense of renewal and new beginnings – a brand new year! Sadly, statistics show us that by mid-February, a mere 8% of us are still on track. It’s hardly inspiring?

I lived through an example of this when I worked as a PT/Duty Manager at a local leisure centre. The influx of memberships and commitment to classes was stereotypical – we were avalanched with good intentions at the start of January. As the weeks went by, the excuses surmounted the bursts of enthusiasm, the numbers dropped off and come March, we were back to the drawing board with the usual promotions and marketing initiatives.

I guess there are several reasons why NY resolutions don’t have a great success rate. It would be easy to say we’re all a bunch of jelly legged creatures who lack the willpower to break old habits but it’s more complex than this.

I spent some time researching things like “our top 10 NY resolutions” and seeking answers as to why so many of us fail to follow through. The first thing that strikes me is we aim too high! Yes, we may feel we would like to change several things about our lives but writing them all down in a great long ‘to do’ list for 2017 is simply too daunting. The most common resolutions include stopping drinking, exercise more, join a gym, get out of debt, do some voluntary work, be in bed by 10pm every night, leave chocolate alone (WHAT??)…. And so it goes on. The issue is that every single one of these requires a big change?

So, when people reach January 21st and have one of those days…. “Jeez, I need a beer, I missed my gym session, I’ve gone into the red again, I’ve not made that call to ‘Help the Aged’, it’s midnight and I just ate an entire bar of chocolate – by myself”, there is understandably a huge sense of failure and for most, a shrug of the shoulders and a vow to try again next year! Life rolls along and all the little niggles that people hoped to fix in one big hammer blow will sit and niggle on…

I may be biased, but I actually believe ‘getting fit’ is a great priority if you are to make a resolution and stick to it. Why? Because a strong body is a strong mind – as you gain strength physically there is a great and positive knock on effect all over and you are in a better position to then tackle other changes.

My work involves supporting people to make one change and it’s enough because this one change, a decision to become more active, fitter, stronger – it’s a big one. It’s a journey and we will hit the speed bumps, cross some bridges, falter, have moments of feeling incredible and sometimes hit a bit of a wall. It’s a process – long term, it’s not a quick fix and a tick off the list, it’s ongoing if it’s going to be worth it. It requires a change of mindset and this alone is an exciting challenge, this is quite enough to focus on – we can leave the rest until we feel truly ready.

Are you ready?