How to Actually Make Your 2019 Resolutions Come True
Ah, the new year.
With the passing of each New Year’s, a host of insecurities are given not only voice, but action to change:
New year, new me.
This time I’m really gonna do it, I’ll lose the weight.
No more bread and sugar, I’m going to be completely Keto this year!
As a professional in the fitness industry, it’s hard to discourage these thoughts. They’re positive, and they’re looking in the right direction. I fully encourage the idea behind each and every one of them. Alas, these statements, as is,
Are designed to be unfulfillable.
Does this sound familiar?
This year, I’m going to make it to the gym three days a week, and run outside between gym days. AND, I’ll do yoga during my son’s soccer practice.
At the start of each year, I hear many statements like this one. In two weeks, however, the person saying this statement is usually right where they started.
This year, though, we’re going to actually do the thing, and make changes!
What makes this year different?
We’re going to work smart and change our habits with small steps first.
Most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick for a couple reasons:
We try to do too much too fast, and put too much pressure on ourselves.
We expect unreasonably fast results, and get impatient when we don’t see them.
With these in mind, we will always be set up to fail because fitness doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Life will always slip up and get busy. When this happens, you’re going to let go of five new things you’re trying to do, and fall back into the same comfortable habits that put you in the position to want to change your health.
Making small changes
People say often to others, “start slow, don’t take on too much so you don’t get overwhelmed,” but rarely mean it for themselves.
Deep inside, there’s a part of all of us that just wants a quick, easy solution. To take a pill one night and wake up 50lbs lighter.
Sadly, it will never work that way.
If we want to change who we are, we have to change what we did to get here.
Today, pick one thing that aligns with your New Year’s resolution to change. For example:
I’m going to lose 20lbs, and I’m going to start by removing my nighttime dessert.
And that’s it! Don’t worry about breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert all at the same time, just work on one. If you find yourself always getting hungry after dinner, because your brain is hard-wired to expect that dessert after dinner, add in a tactic to help the new habit you’re trying to build.
Right after I put my dishes away, I’ll go upstairs and brush my teeth, which will help decrease the desire to eat that dessert.
(Side note: in addition to brushing your teeth, you can do 15 push-ups, which will invoke an endorphin response in your brain, helping replace the dopamine response it would’ve gotten from your dessert)
Keep that change for 2-4 weeks, then look at adding in another change! This way, you only have one new thing to stick to when life hits.
When you get home from the office exhausted at 9 o’clock at night.
When there was a wreck on the way home and it took you an hour to get through it.
When life feels like it’s out to get you, it’s much easier to not eat dessert than it is to keep five new changes in your day.