I have done a bit of research about new years resolutions and what I discovered was horrifying. Wikipedia tells me that:
A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
Quoting Frank Ra (author of the new year’s resolution book “A course in happiness” ): “Resolutions are more sustainable when shared, both in terms of with whom you share the benefits of your resolution, and with whom you share the path of maintaining your resolution. Peer-support makes a difference in success rate with new year’s resolutions”.
Talking about sharing goals, that’s a tough one. My feelings on it are mixed. On the 17th October 2012 I thought it important to share my goals with my husband and my good friend Nic but anyone else would have to wait. In time I shared my goals with our family and a few more work colleagues. To a lot of my colleagues it was obvious, I would post my weight loss on a spreadsheet at my desk every week, if they were paying enough attention they would notice. Our family knew by our new-found focus on the gym and healthier eating options that we were doing something different.
Was I afraid of failing, yes i was!!
It took me a long time to share my journey on a blog and it also took me a good 12 months to share my photos on my social media page. I was careful not to post a lot of photos online during my journey as I felt an internal need to keep going as long as I could without the judgement of others.
I did a bit of research into resolutions and habits.
How about we choose a resolution and think about a habit that sits behind that resolution that we have the ability to change
A resolution for healthy eating may be to eat more fruit or to cut out soft drink and chocolate and a resolution for losing weight would be the habit of walking once a day or enrolling in a gym class once a week.
They say that you will have a 50% better chance of succeeding if you try to change habits – it’s also really important to set yourself one resolution, something that you can really sink your teeth into, making sure you give yourself the best chance of achieving that goal. For me it was about setting smaller goals, take my big goal “lose 30 kg” and break it down into 5 kg chunks. Write yourself a list of the ways you can achieve those chunks. For me it was keeping within my calories for the week, making sure I did 2-3 walks and 1 gym class and in the last few months it was a particular type of training for an event. In addition to that I always had a reward waiting for me at each milestone, a massage, a pedicure or even a $50 shopping voucher (small but in my view very essential).
Why did it work for me. I wrote myself a contract, I made myself accountable, I was only ever failing myself If I didn’t achieve those milestones. What did I do if I was a week late to a milestone, I just kept keeping on!
I never gave up because I had a broader picture of things, I had changed my mindset. I made sure that I could be flexible with my goals and be ok with that.
Share your story, never be afraid of others comments. If people get you down or are not encouraging, you are probably keeping the wrong company (harsh? Yes a little but necessary). I think a good or even better, a great support network is essential in keeping you accountable and honest. Give others the permission to call you on your behaviour (something I have learnt from my work). If you say you are not going to eat chocolate and a friend catches you out eating chocolate then know that you are doing the wrong thing and fix it!
So think about it, do you have to wait until the 1st of January to make a change that you have been wanting to make for a while?
If you have the determination and are prepared you will have the motivation to get where you want to be.