By the time you are reading this article – the percentage of failed New Year’s resolutions is disheartening.
Forbes magazine states that 25 per cent of us will give up our resolutions by the first week.
Some estimates suggest that less than 50 per cent will continue with our resolutions past six months.
Yet, 60 per cent will make the exact same resolution next year and the majority will fail again.
Do’s and Don’ts
o DON’T word your resolution in the negative.
For example, “I don’t want to eat any junk food” vs. “I will eat more healthy.” Psychology Today explains the Ironic Mental Control Effect.
“The ‘ironic’ part refers to the fact that trying not to do things, in particular trying not to think of something, or endeavouring not to have desires, seems to, paradoxically, bring them on more strongly.”
DO: Keep resolutions affirmative and positive.
o DON’T mindlessly reattempt the same failed goal time after time. Self-reflection will benefit you.
“The Planning Fallacy refers to our belief that a current project will go as well as planned even though most projects from a relevant comparison set have failed to do so” states Forbes.
Chances of success will increase if you change the parameters that contributed to failure in the first place.
DO: Thoroughly examine why a failed resolution occurred.
Adjust the goal to reflect your personal characteristics, work-life reality, and circumstance.
o DON’T create goals that have zero tolerance for an off day.
We all have unforeseen events that come up day to day, week to week that interrupt our plans.
It’s normal to have off days – in fact, expect them!
“What the Hell Effect” is explained, by Psychology Today, as when people have made a self-set limit (i.e. not eating any junk food), and break it one day by having a piece of chocolate at lunch.
They then go on to eat a lot more junk food later that day as they feel their goal has been broken anyways.
Resolutions that are difficult to keep often get abandoned altogether — until next year.
DO: In your goal, focus on the actions you do want instead of restricting actions.
Make realistic and attainable goals. Allow for an off day and carry on.
Beware of abandoning the goal for the illusion of a fresh start at a later date.
o You can set a new goal anytime. You don’t have to wait for Jan. 1, 2017.
Give your goal a timeframe, an end goal to celebrate, then evaluate, adjust and continue.
o Remember the power of the friend’s factor.
Having a buddy joining in on a similar goal, activity or healthy lifestyle will encourage and support your end goal.
o Know what you enjoy and work with it.
If your goal is to get more physically fit but you don’t enjoy going to the gym, don’t go to the gym.
Do what you enjoy and motivates you- could be walking, dancing, swimming, or tennis for example.
Ensure your goal is custom tailored for your success.
Joanne Malar is the program coordinator for Summerland Recreation, three-time Olympic swimmer, 2012 Olympic Commentator, kinesiologist and holistic nutritionist.