Is getting up at 06:00 to go for a run, eating a kale smoothie for breakfast and quitting smoking all getting a bit too much to handle? We feel you, and so do the other one in five people who’ve broken their New Year’s resolution by 6th January.
Making a permanent change is no easy task. Lots of us set overambitious goals and are left feeling down in the dumps when we struggle to keep up. But it’s time to stop being so hard on yourself. Slip-ups don’t mean that you won’t succeed in your New Year’s resolution, and every step you take towards your goal is a huge achievement – no matter how small! So, put that smoothie down, and check out our advice on how to reach your goals.
Be realistic, and don’t be too hard on yourself
Every masterpiece was once a work in progress. It’s going to take time to achieve your goals, and changing your behaviour slowly over a long period will improve your chances of success. So, whether you’re trying to quit smoking or lose a couple of pounds, be patient and don’t rush. You’ll get there eventually. Try following these three steps to make a change that will last.
Take one day at a time
Nobody’s perfect. There are always going to be days where your craving gets the best of you, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means that you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get ready to take on tomorrow. Making a change is hard and slip-ups are inevitable. Be kind to yourself when they happen.
Set realistic timescales
Your weight loss goals will be personal to you, but as a guide it’s safe and realistic to aim to lose 0.5kg-1kg per two weeks. While overnight achievement would be wonderful, this is a marathon – not a sprint. Make sure you’re not being too ambitious in your goals, and give yourself the time to succeed.
Set smaller, more attainable goals
Instead of trying to lose 12kg, why not commit to losing 2kg in the next month? Then, once you’ve succeeded, you can set yourself another goal. Smaller targets are far less daunting and will help you build momentum and push you towards your long-term goal.
Reward yourself – you deserve it
Celebrate your achievements with a healthy reward to help boost your motivation. You’re doing great.
Variety is the spice of life
Habits are often shaped by the things we do on a regular basis. If you carry on in the same groove, you might find it tricky to make a change. Not only will shaking up your schedule help you avoid falling back into old habits, but it can also be a lot of fun. Here are three ways to get started.
Get a change of scenery
Put the days of meeting your mates for a pizza, a beer and a few cigarettes behind you. Why not catch a movie, play mini golf or see a band together? A change of scene will keep your mind busy and help you avoid familiar cravings.
Did you know that exercise releases ‘happy’ hormones? Even if your goal is unrelated to fitness, getting active will help to boost your mood and take your mind off your cravings. So the next time you’re tempted by a chocolate bar or cigarette, try going for a walk or having a dance around your living room instead. It’ll help you stay on track.
Try something new
Whether you decide to take a dance class or learn to beatbox, doing something you’ve never done before is a fun and sociable way to change up your routine. You might even find a new favourite hobby.
A problem shared is a problem halved
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Breaking old habits is hard, and there are lots of people you can turn to for support, whether that’s your friends and family, or a healthcare professional. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone, and explore these three support networks.
Talk to friends and family
Chances are, your friends and family are rooting for you to succeed. Taking them on your journey will mean that you have plenty of people to rely on whenever things get tough. They’ll also be able to cheer you on as you get closer and closer to your target.
Do some social networking
From Pinterest to Twitter, the internet is full of people trying to reach their goals. Share ideas and top tips on your social media, ask others for their advice, and get some inspiration. There’s plenty of support out there.
Ask a professional
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking the help of a healthcare professional. Thanks to LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, you can find out if there’s a treatment suitable for you without even leaving our sofa.
If you’re frustrated with how long it’s taking you to lose those extra pounds, try not to be. It’s common for weight loss to be a slow process, and it’s proven that weight lost over a longer period is more likely to stay off. Find out why in our article ‘Why weight loss takes time‘.
For more advice on quitting smoking, check out our ‘Top tips to quit smoking for good’ post
Making a change is hard, but just by reading this article you’ve shown your commitment. You’re on your way already. Remember to take your time, keep your goal in sight, and never be afraid to ask for help. Let’s make this year’s resolution a success.
1. YouGov.UK – https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/12/26/six-ten-have-failed-keep-all-their-2017-new-years-/