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How to make New Year's Resolutions that STICK

Updated: Jan 3




As you gear up for another exciting New Year, you might find yourself in the familiar territory of making resolutions in the hope that they somehow stick. You know the drill – enthusiastic promises to hit the gym regularly, eat more greens, lose that extra weight, get more organised, or maybe cut back on alcohol. How often have those January aspirations fizzled out by the time February rolls around? It's a tale as old as time – the grand intentions, the initial burst of motivation, and then... well, life happens.

It’s not just you! New Year is a time of hope and anticipation, and it genuinely is a really good time to think about how you want your life to be in the coming year. However, the fact that there is already a day set aside each year – it’s called Quitters Day – for the collapse of New Year resolutions, shows that many of us struggle to stick to our good intentions. It’s the second Friday of January (January 12th in 2024)


The fitness app Strava conducted some research back in 2019 that showed 80% of those who made resolutions had given up by the end of the month and that the second Friday in January was when most started their inevitable decline.


Why can’t we stick to our New Year resolutions?

You can probably imagine the biggest problem and I am sure you will have experienced them for yourself at some stage or another: the initial resolution was over-ambitious and from a place of 'should' rather than a genuine act of self-care.

You start off filled with enthusiasm but couldn’t maintain the same level of commitment.

I’d like to offer a potential solution to both in a moment. To offer a little branch of hope right now, I am running my Hormone Harmony Programme again at the end of February, which is perfect for anyone who slipped in January and needs a little support to get back on track to achieving your health and life goals.


If you struggle to stick to goals, you’ll benefit from re-visiting your goal-setting strategy. Knowing what you want is just the first step – knowing how to get there is as – if not more – important.

 

So how do you set goals that lead to success? 

You might already have heard about SMART goals but making them SMARTER is even better (and a lot more fun). This means setting goals that are:

 

·       Specific

·       Measurable

·       Achievable

·       Realistic

·       Time-bound

·       Exciting

·       Rewarded

 

Specific

The goal must be clear and concise. Vague goals, such as “I want to get healthy” don’t tell you, or anyone else, what you are aiming for. This makes it difficult to know when you’ve reached the goal. It might be worth looking at things like being able to fit into a specific pair of trousers or being able to get to the end of that 5k run without stopping – or other specific activities like getting out on a walk or doing some guided meditation.

 

Measurable

The goal must contain measurable criteria for tracking progress. If your goal isn’t specific, you can’t measure it. Ensure your goal has a clear measurable component that you can track to see how close you are to the desired end point. If you are thinking about weight loss, the scale and the tape measure will be needed. You might well want to use both – sometimes the number on the scale doesn’t give the full picture. Or you might be measuring how long you can run, how many Zumba classes you attend, how many times you listen to a Yoga Nidra before bed.

 

Achievable

The goal must be practically possible, yet still challenging. This is something to bear in mind if you tend to have lofty plans. It’s a balance of being able to actually do it and it being sufficiently challenging to motivate you to spend time and energy pursuing it. For example, if you want to run a marathon and find it relatively easy to get outdoors to run but regularly only run 10km, the goal might be achievable and challenging. If you don’t currently run and never have, then aiming for a 5k run is more likely to be the goal for you.

 

Realistic

The goal must be realistic in the long term. It is important to ask yourself, “can I actually do this?” and “is it realistic given my current circumstances?”. Not in a self-doubting kind of way, but in a rational, carefully thought-through way. Thinking about goals that might relate to losing weight or exercise, there is a sweet spot between setting goals that feel a bit of a stretch and setting those that are over-optimistic or that require time that you just don’t have. If you are a busy mamma of 3 children and work full-time, for example, then factor that in! And perhaps you start small - i.e. "I will meditate twice per week for the whole of January". This can be built upon, but at least you are not setting yourself up to fail by imagining you'll do it every day, if the reality is that you don't even have time to shower. You get the idea.

 

Time-bound

The goal should be grounded within a specific timeframe. When will you do this by? Having a scheduled completion date greatly increases your odds of reaching your goals. When you know your cut-off date, you know how to pace yourself and prioritise your time, energy, and resources. It can really help focus your energies and keep you motivated as you check in with yourself towards the end of the timeframe. A bit like that extra burst athletes get at the end of the race as they sprint towards the finish.

 

And now come the BEST bits…

 

Exciting

The goal must be enticing and inspiring. Does the thought of the goal excite you? Many people pursue goals because they feel they ‘must’, ‘should’, or because others want them to, rather than because they truly want to achieve the goal. Think about what you are bringing in rather than giving up. Make sure your goal is properly aligned with who you are (and not that person you think you should be). Is it something that properly energises you and is personally motivating? Focus on what will be possible for you when you reach your goal. How will it really feel when you achieve what you set out to do? I want you to get really fired up by your goal - does it (or will it) bring you joy?

 

Rewarded

The goal must offer a clear reward. This can be an extrinsic reward (something tangible such as money, awards, savings, or prizes), or intrinsic (joy, happiness, mastering a skill, or satisfaction of a job well done). If you aren’t getting some benefit or reward for reaching your goal, your motivation is likely to dip. How will you reward yourself? What will feel like a real win? Remember, since we’re in the world of wellness, I’m not talking about having a big blow-out at the end of a diet but something more nourishing of the soul…

 

You can complete the following statements/questions to help you set your goals:

 

·       My goal is...

·       It is clear and specific in the following way...

·       How will I know if I’ve achieved it? I can measure success in the following way...

·       My goal is realistic because...

·       My timeframes are... I will have achieved it by...

·       I'm excited and inspired by this goal because....

·       The reward to me achieving this goal is .... My life will feel better when I achieve it because...




 

Facts about New Year resolutions

  1. New Year Resolutions have deep – and religious – roots. The Romans used to start each year by making promises to the god Janus. They made sacrifices in apology for the previous year’s mistakes and promised to be good the following year. The early Christians would start their year meditating on past transgressions and thinking of how they could do better.

  2. Westerners are most likely to make resolutions. Making resolutions is most common in the Western world but also can be found in Eastern countries.

  3. New Year IS a good time to work on your goals. Studies show those who make New Year’s resolutions are ten times more likely to succeed than those who decide to make life changes at other times of the year.

  4. You can make resolutions stick with proper goal setting. According to studies, the most effective way to achieve a New Year’s resolution is by setting specific goals (and I'm adding in that they should be from a place from a place of loving kindness)

  5. Fun fact: Research shows you’re more likely to stick to a goal that is action-oriented rather than an avoidance-oriented goal (58.9% versus 47.1%).

 

Every goal is easier to achieve with support. Wouldn’t it be great to prove to others or yourself that you can do it? It certainly would, but why struggle? Why not make your life easier by getting support?


The fix:

  1. Join me on my 28-Day Hormone Harmony Programme, designed to help you identify and stick to your health goals in a way that is realistic and long-lasting. You have direct access to me, Registered Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach, as well as the support of 20 other women. It's an incredible journey with astounding results. Will you be one of the 20 women joining me at the end of February 2024? Book before midnight on January 1st and get a FREE 121 Health Coaching session (value of £50).

  2. Join me on January 15th for the Zero Sugar Challenge 2024. This is completely free and suitable to ANYONE wanting to reduce their sugar intake as well as learning where hidden sugars creep into your diet.

  3. Put yourself on my waiting list for a complementary health review to see if I am the right practitioner to support you with your health goals on one of my 3- month personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes.

  4. I also really recommend the book 'Atomic Habits' which is just a brilliant read for the start of a New Year.


Let’s work together to tackle all aspects of what I’ve been talking about above. I’ll bring the knowledge of what to eat for your goals, and support you to create healthy habits that last. I’ll also be your cheerleader if you experience any barriers or setbacks that look like they might stand in the way of you achieving your goals. Now is exactly the right time for a brand new you: new diet, new attitude and new healthy lifestyle habits.




Here's to a happy and healthy 2024

xx

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janerutts
Jan 01

Great reminder of the importance of goal setting and understanding 'why' you need / want to make any changes as part of your New Year plans. Thank you Liz - honest, warm support, as ever 💖. Best Wishes, Jane.

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