New Year’s resolutions give us a renewed sense of purpose as we head into the New Year. No wonder nearly 70% of Canadians make a New Year’s resolution. Most of those resolutions involve a desire to lose weight and exercise.
Here’s the hard part. Although we have an affinity for making New Year’s resolutions, there is frequently a disconnect between the healthy lifestyle we want and the actions we’re willing to take to achieve it. After the initial excitement, our commitment wanes. Nearly 20% of us don’t make it past 24 hours. Within a month, more than 50% of resolution makers have fallen off the bandwagon.
Dismal statistics like this could lead you to believe that making a New Year’s resolution is futile. However, Statistic Brain Research Institute observed the following: “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” Additionally, nearly 20% of Canadians who made a New Year’s resolution were able to keep it for the entire year. So the question is: How can we be successful in setting and keeping our resolutions?
Focus on One Achievable Goal
It’s not uncommon for people to make a laundry list of New Year’s resolutions. However, the longer your list of goals, the less likely it is you will achieve them. Most resolutions necessitate a change in lifestyle and mindset. This requires discipline and commitment. Introducing several goals at once is overwhelming. Focus on one or two goals. Pour your energy and effort into establishing new behaviours and thought patterns for one change at a time.
While goals should be challenging, they should also be achievable. An outrageous weight loss or financial goal sets up failure. Choose your resolution thoughtfully. A smaller goal of losing one or two pounds a week might not sound as exciting as losing ten pounds a week. Yet, the smaller goal is more likely to be achieved. We are buoyed by small successes. This makes it more likely that we’ll go on to set and achieve the next goal. Taking this small bite approach makes it more likely you’ll eventually achieve that outrageous goal.
Make It Specific and Measurable
If our resolutions aren’t specific and measurable, they’re doomed to failure from the outset. For instance, resolving to exercise more isn’t specific or measurable. Making a commitment to attend a yoga class 10 times per month is a specific, measurable goal.
Come into one of our Hot Yoga TNT studios and get your 10 –Day Challenge card. Fill your card by attending 10 yoga classes in a month and you’ll earn a special reward—15% off our auto renewal package. When you accomplish that goal, pick up your next 10-Day Challenge punch card and start your 10 classes in 30 days challenge all over again.
Get a Friend Involved
I attended my first hot yoga class because a good friend dragged me there on my 40th birthday. Greg attended his first hot yoga class because he didn’t believe a yoga class could be as challenging as I claimed when I slept through our date. Over the years, Greg and I pushed each other to continue with the practice, to take it to the next level and eventually to become certified teachers.
Find an accountability partner who shares a similar goal. Establish concrete, measurable objectives. Push each other to achieve those goals. Sometimes that means being your partner’s biggest cheerleader. Other times it means taking a harder stance. Taking on a challenging goal with a partner is not only more effective, it’s also more fun.
Focus on Results
We quickly lose interest in a resolution when we don’t see results. The goal feels impossible to achieve, so we throw in the towel. A goal like losing 20 pounds or lowering your blood pressure 10 points can take time. Don’t get frustrated with the amount of time it will take to achieve that goal. Focus on the results you experience along the journey. Celebrate incremental weight loss and looser fitting jeans as you work toward your end goal.
One of the reasons a resolution like the 10-Day Challenge is so effective is because you will quickly begin to experience significant change. You’ll feel better, stronger. Your sleep quality will improve. Your range of motion will expand. You’ll get relief from nagging aches and pains. Frequency produces results. Practicing yoga 10 times per month will yield amazing results. Be motivated by results, not by fear or pie-in-the-sky wishes.
Don’t Wait Until the End of the Year to Make Your Resolution
Who says you have to wait until the ball is about to drop to set resolutions for the year ahead? This limiting belief gives us license to throw up our hands if we fall off the resolution bandwagon. If you falter in February or March, don’t wait until next year to try again. Be mindful of your goals every day, regardless of the month or date.
Don’t focus on disappointments in the past. Discipline is a work in progress. Just keep at it. Centre your thoughts and intentions throughout the day on behaviours that will bring you closer to your goal. If you have a setback, don’t fold up your tent. Learn from it. Let it go. Recommit to the plan. If you only attended 8 classes this month, celebrate what you accomplished. Then try again next month to reach your goal.
Maintaining a resolution is challenging, but not impossible. Setting a firm intention makes it more likely you’ll achieve your goal. Focus on one achievable goal. Make it specific and measurable. Get an accountability partner. Focus on the results as you work toward your larger goal. Don’t wait until the end of the year to begin working on your resolutions.
If a fitness goal topped your resolutions list this year, commit to a 10-day challenge. Pick up your 10-Day Challenge card and select your classes. Attend 10 yoga classes in 30 days. You’ll be able to measure the results in many ways: the bathroom scale, the way your pants fit, the compliments you receive. As an added bonus, you will lay the foundation for a lifetime of good health.