New Year – New You?

Jennifer SymeBlog

5 Reasons Resolutions Fail

How many of you made resolutions this year? And how many of you are still doing them half way through January? If you are like most people they probably only lasted a few days. Statistics suggest that 93% of people who set resolutions did so to improve fitness or lose weight but only 50% stick with it beyond January. So, why does this happen? Why is it so hard to stick to good habits and so easy to fall back into bad?

1)    Unspecific and Overwhelming  – people tend to list several resolutions like ‘lose weight’, ‘get fit’, ‘save money’. These are huge, undefined ideas. How much weight? How fit…to run a marathon or to run for the bus?  Better to say something like ‘lose 2lb a week’ and also pick one thing at a time as it will be easier to stick to.

2)    Ready to Fail – human beings are almost incapable of overnight change. How long have you been doing the thing you want to stop? Months? Years? So your mind/body is not going to give it up that easily. If you miss a class, have a cigarette or a 3rd biscuit, don’t let that be the end. Various reports say it takes anything from 3-6 weeks to form a new, good habit. (Bad ones seem to stick quicker!). It also helps to measure your efforts rather than results. So instead of fretting about only losing 1lb and blaming your weak willpower, use a food diary to see that you stuck to the plan most of the time. It’s the 80/20 rule – as long as you do it 80% of the time, you’ll get there.

3)    Carrots/Sticks – If you have goals, then you can have rewards for when you meet them. Or if you work better with threats, a punishment if you fail. I prefer rewards like buying something with the cash saved on cigarettes or sweets. Perhaps have small rewards for weekly achievements and then a bigger one for the big goal. I’ve had people come to me, having given up smoking, and their reward is using some of the saved money for a monthly massage.

4)     Buddy Power – having someone else doing the same thing as you or aware of your plan and cheering you on can be a great boost. A professional trainer or supportive class can do wonders by keeping the end goal in sight. I know I wouldn’t have stuck to my fitness last year without my trainer and the fact that one of my friends also went to her, having been inspired by my progress.

5)    Take Care of Yourself – Around this time of year I start to see results of people’s ‘get fit’ resolutions. They leap off the couch and into some new class or regime, ignoring the boring stuff like stretching, or pacing themselves.  And the results are lots of pain, very little gain and all the good intentions get dropped. Keeps me busy, but I’m just as happy to support people’s long term efforts. Start slow and build up, and don’t skip the stretching, especially afterwards when it is most tempting to just keel over on the couch.

So, I hope those of you that have made some plans for change find some of these tips useful, and remember I am here to help with massage treatments and wellness advice. Personally I have learned that to keep to my goals I need a mixture of bribery, planning and accountability.  My main aim for this year is to continue with the fitness program I started last year. Who would have thought I’d be eyeing up trail running shoes…me, the sworn anti-runner. So as part of ‘being accountable’, feel free to ask me how I am getting on!

18 Jan 2013