The New Year brings the usual resolutions where we promise to make our lives better, happier and more fulfilled. Resolutions usually revolve around stopping smoking, eat healthier, spending more time with the family, being less stressed, drinking less or doing some volunteer or charity work. It’s a sad fact, but maybe not a surprising one that most of us break our resolutions by the end of January.
Let’s look at of the most common resolutions: getting fit. After the excesses of the Christmas period, where on average we consume around 7,000 calories on just Christmas day itself, we all feel the guilt and shame kick in and vow to change our ways. So off we go and join the local gym or sign up to a multitude of fitness classes. We might dust the bike off and promise ourselves to ride 50 miles a week but it doesn’t take long until the resolutions seem like a bad idea and we start to falter. One study in the Guardian showed that 78% of us will fail to stick to our New Year Resolutions. Why does this happen, and what can we do about it?
There have been several studies looking at why people fail in their resolutions each year, mostly focusing on small groups of people. The study mentioned above took a larger sample. One of the identified reasons for failure was we often make too many resolutions at the same time making it much more likely we will fail. Trying to give up alcohol, lose 2 stone and gor for a run every evening are huge changes to anyon’es life and hard to achieve all in one go. So it’s better to choose just one resolution, and make it realistic. Running a 10k in the middle of February when you’ve never run down the road before is going to be difficult to achieve so make it more manageable.
To keep your motivation high, if you’re trying to get fit for example is to give yourself little rewards along the way. So if you manage to run 3 times in the first week, why not treat yourself to a new book, or cd perhaps. You could even go so far as to create a reward chart for your efforts, but you must stick to it. Saying your goals out loud to friends or family will make it harder to break them so let people know what you’re aiming for.
The article above also says to try a different resolution if you failed at the same one last year. That’s all to do with your self belief of course; if you couldn’t do it last year you’ll have little faith in your ability to do it this year.
If you want to get fit though it really shouldn’t be something you do just at the beginning of each new year. Make it a lifestyle choice and learn how to build activity into your day as part of your normal routine. If you make it too hard for yourself the goal will be unattainable. Be sensible in your approach, make small changes and build on them. Do things regularly so they become habit and before you know it you’ll wonder how you ever managed without your regular run or cycle ride.
Being active and staying active should be part of what you do with your family too, and of course bike rides are ideal for this. Good luck if you’re trying to get fit and stay fit this New Year. We’re right behind you!