By Robbie Allison-Young
If you’re setting resolutions for the New Year that involve cultivating healthier habits for a happier life, you’re probably not alone.
Most of us tend to get resolution crazy right around this time of year, and let’s face it, the majority of us fail. It’s just the sad truth. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve made and broken my fair share of New Year’s promises to myself. You know how it is, that crazy thing called life happens, and our initial, undoubted aspirations fall by the wayside as the year progresses.
But there is a silver lining, as next year you get to try all over again! So if you’re one of those people, here are a few tips to help you set goals and stay the course. Because goals are easier set than done.
I’ve found that when I’m more vocal about a goal or intention, the more likely I am to stay true to it. Now, I’m not saying post it on Facebook or shout it out from the roof tops – as that’s just, well, uncool. But it’s worth telling your mates about the ‘New You’ who’ll be running a half-marathon mid-year, alcohol-free for a month, or be able to headstand before the year is through.
It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something when there’s no one to press you on your progress or encourage you for that matter. Getting vocal makes you more accountable not just to yourself, but to the people you’ve confided in.
Write it Out
It helps to create structure and not just tell yourself you’re going to do something. Because, let’s face it, it’s not real until you write it down. Whether you use a good old fashion journal or an app, make it simple. Don’t over think this process. Find something that works for you.
The important thing is you outline exactly what you would like to achieve and address the small things you are doing each day to get there.
Hang with Heroes
Who better to roll with than those who are on a similar warpath as you?! Find a community of like-minded people to help you stay on track. If your goal is to be more active and eat healthier, you will find that you’re not alone. Find a buddy who has similar goals as you and make motivating each other your main mission. It takes the entire focus off of you and you don’t feel like the whole world is on your shoulders.
Finding a buddy or a group with similar aspirations will help you lighten up and move forward when things seem impossible.
Get Real – Start Small, Go Big
It’s easy to go big when it comes to resolutions. We want to become our ‘best selves’ over night. But be easy on yourself and start small. Progress happens when we tend to the little things with mindfulness. The small actions we take today will add up to huge results in the future.
Want to run a marathon but have never ran over 10 miles? Maybe start by running a comfortable distance that works for you, and gradually increase the distance each week, or day, if you’re game! Be realistic about your goals; maybe a half-marathon (still freakin’ impressive!) is a more viable objective. Integrate your new habits slowly and consistently and you’ll see huge results.
Make it a Ritual – And Have Some Fun!
Who says working hard towards our goals can’t be fun? Let’s change the stigma around goal setting and start enjoying ourselves!
Try carving out a sacred space and time each day to tackle your goal. Make it a ritual rather than a routine. Routine sounds much more rigid. Your ritual is yours and yours only. Think about ending it by doing something you enjoy, whether it be reading, writing, reflecting, drinking coffee, whatever! Condition your body to look forward to this time.
I’ve added enjoyment to my daily workout (one of my resolutions) simply by listening to my favourite music as I train. This adjustment, though small, gets me pumped up and let’s me lose myself in the airwaves!
Submit and Sign-up!
We’ve all heard of or experienced the pain of purchasing a 12-month gym membership, only to go once a month…or less! Weirdly, the beauty here is at least we are being punished, aka financially reprimanded. And as harsh as it seems, maybe feeling the heat is a good thing and serves as an additional nudge in the right direction.
So if it’s singing lessons or a hard-core obstacle race you’re seeking to participate in, seek it out and sign up early. This serves the purpose of not only making it a ‘real’ and tangible goal to work towards, but it also opens you up to a new community of like-minded individuals (as mentioned above) and is a key step into turning your dream into a reality.
Be Kind To Yourself
Don’t be shy to reward yourself either. Imagine working every day without receiving a paycheck at the end of the month – motivation would be at an all time low, right? So give back to yourself when you do something worth giving for.
Above all, remember to practice kindness and patience with yourself on this fitness journey. Even if you ‘cheat’ a little and don’t do things according to plan, tomorrow is a brand new day.
You are human. You are enough.
What goals are you setting for yourself this year?
About the Author
Robbie Allison-Young is a drummer, writer and thrill seeker. It’s these passions that have seen him tour the world with his band, Atlantis Awaits, and more recently, trek to Costa Rica and volunteer as a writer at Blue Osa. His search is endless and destinations boundless. Watch his band here.