Hands up who has set a New Years resolution to change something? Whether it is to get fit, to lose weight, not buy any more clothes or give up smoking.
There are a couple of tricks that can be used to increase your chances this year of actually sticking to your resolution, rather than letting it fall by the wayside by the middle of January. Setting SMART goals and adding rewards are helpful but it doesn’t tap into the pain of change. The pain of change is why, which needs to override the desire to stay the same. Thinking why do I want to change, what do I want to achieve and why? The underlying why will be the motivating factor for change. Once you have your why now is focusing on how to achieve this.
To make these resolutions stick, use the initial spark of motivation to create a habit. Any new habit starts from a glimpse of motivation and a supportive environment; then persistence turns this into the habit.Then when the days of low motivation come around, you have an already established habit, which is performed as part of your routine. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form, but not impossible. The old saying ‘it takes 21 days to create a habit’ has been debunked, as the science is showing now it to be more like 66 days to make new habits.
Setting up your environment for success is vital to support creating these new habits. Think about a new habit you want to create and then brainstorm ways to you can support this goal. A new goal may be to go swimming after work 3 nights per week. Steps you can put in place to achieve this, include; writing these events into your weekly planner, packing your swimming items in your car and going straight from work to the pool or meeting a friend at the pool. In this case, by preplanning, you are setting up the intention and environment for the new habit. So, when days roll around when you are unmotivated, you automatically perform the new habit.
There will be times when it is easier than others to keep this new routine or behaviour, on the hard days, always go back to your why. Tap into your why to reignite your motivation to put those runners on or to not buy that packet of cigarettes. If you do happen to miss a day, don’t throw the towel in. Use the next opportunity to make a better choice, whether it is the next meal or day. Always coming back to the why needs to be stronger than the comfort you are feeling. The old cliché of stepping outside your comfort zone applies here as progress and comfort do not co-exist.
If setting a new habit, thinking why you want to achieve this and motivation is still waning. As adults, we all do things we don’t like or want to do and still do them. There will be days when changing routine is easier than others, however always go back to your why. If you keep coming back to the why you will have your resolution achieved in no time.
Alyce Rees – Accredited Practising Dietitian/ Personal Trainer
Food in Action – Dolphins Health Precinct, Redcliffe
Phone: 07 3880 3729
Email: [email protected]