We’ve passed the first week of January and this is about the time when those New Year’s resolutions start to become a bit tougher. Traditionally, it’s about January 17th when people ditch their good intentions and go back to their old habits. So why is this? And how can you make sure you stick to yours.
Whether you’re doing Dry January, Veganuary or you’ve taken up a new form of exercise, there are strategies that you can employ to make sure you see the month through and start to see the benefits of your new-found healthier lifestyle. Generally, it takes about three months for a new lifestyle habit to become a way of life. This is why I usually work with my clients for AT LEAST 90 DAYS! But having said that, it’s also important to take baby steps and take things one day at a time at first, which leads me to tell you about these three simple steps that will help you stick to your resolutions.
STEP ONE – As the Walker Brothers said – Make It Easy On Yourself
Whatever changes you are trying to make, make them as easy as you possibly can. If you’re doing Dry January, avoid social situations where you’ll be tempted to drink. Don’t make it difficult for yourself by going to all the places where you usually drink. If you like to drink at home, clear the alcohol out, especially your favourite tipple. Make sure there are plenty of good quality alternatives in the cupboard. If you’d normally have a glass of wine with dinner, buy some soft drinks that you enjoy or some good quality herbal teas and serve them in a special glass or cup. Some people like to avoid alcohol free beers and wines in case they act as a trigger for the real thing, but this is an entirely personal decision. Alcohol free beer is very good these days and can be a lifesaver for some.
The same goes for other resolutions. If you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, ditch the junk food from your cupboards, get rid of the crisps and chocolate then you won’t be tempted.
If you’ve started a yoga class or you want to go to the gym after work, get your kit ready before you go to bed and put it by the door. Remove the obstacles and make your new habits as easy as you can until they become a part of the fabric of your life.
STEP TWO – Make the Smallest Changes
Don’t try to change everything at once. Say you want to be as tranquil as the Dalai Lama but right now you feel more like Desperate Dan, then you should choose one thing and focus on changing that. You could keep the cowboy hat and the stubble but swop out the cow pie for a broccoli bake. Or keep the cow pie but do five minutes of meditation every morning. Pick the easiest thing, the one you’re most drawn to and change that, then, move on to the next. Having succeeded at that one small change you will feel more motivated to make the next change and probably find it slightly easier.
STEP THREE – Don’t Give Up If You Slip Up
If you’re doing Veganuary and you absent-mindedly put cow juice in your coffee or chow-down a ham butty, don’t throw in the towel. You made a mistake and that’s ok. Everybody who has ever succeed at anything will have made a few mistakes along the way. Instead of beating yourself up and saying, ‘I’m no good at this,’ or ‘I can’t do it,’ just ask yourself what you would do differently next time and work out what you can do to help yourself succeed. I often tell my clients when they’ve made a mistake along the way to imagine what their best friend would say to them. The answer is usually that their best friend would treat them with kindness and say, ‘I understand why you did that,’ and offer advice for next time. Treat yourself like your own best friend. Be kind to yourself. Remember, nobody ever punished themselves into a happier life, and at the end of the day, that’s what all of your resolutions are aiming for, to make your life happier and healthier in the year to come.
If you’d like help sticking to your health and wellness resolutions, why not give me a call on 07939 235671 for a no-obligation chat and find out how I can help you.