New Year Resolutions and top tips for getting your year off to a good start
Well the holiday is over, the turkey demolished, the tinsel back in the attic and only the odd forlorn, forgotten Christmas ornament left on a shelf to remind us that we have gone through the most indulgent two weeks of the year.
Most of us will have done the rounds of cocktails, canapes, Christmas pudding and sugar laden cranberry sauce. We have survived the letting go of one year and welcoming the next only to wake up with a rollicking headache and a promise to change everything this year.
So what now?
Well the standard is the New Year Resolution ceremony. That is the guilt-ridden session of proclaiming your determination to lose those pounds, give up the booze, actually start working on your bucket list, to do less work, have more fun, be good to family and friends, give up that bad habit, get fit, change things about your partner (cross that one off the list right now – only he or she can make that change!), declutter, save money, read the ever mounting pile of books under your bed, tell your boss they are a jerk, change jobs, dump your relationship, find a man, get a cat instead…and on it goes.
The trouble is that most of our New Year Resolutions are faded memories by the end of February, gym memberships are nothing more than another direct debit by March and we get right back into our old groove – or for some us our old rut. Why? Because we promise ourselves too much and every promise takes effort and change. Too much of that and we run out of steam very quickly. See our article Top Tips on Making New Year Resolutions Stick.
So what are the Sassy tips for getting your year off to a good start and keeping the momentum going?
Instead of making a long list of wishes, make a very short list of actions. In other words write down things you are definitely going to do over the next few months. Make sure that your actions are meaningful, positive, and specific. Better to have one positive action which will really enhance your life than a volume of wishes which will stay on the shelf, gather dust, and increase your guilt or regret. One of the best approaches to setting a meaningful goal statement is visualisation in which you take yourself forward 12 months and look at life as you want it to look like then. Think about what you want to say, hear, think about yourself. What do you want to be proud of next December? What do you want to be saying when people ask if you have had a good year? (See our article on Positive Visualisation).
- Talk positive
There is no point saying ‘I am going to get fit.’ Instead, you need to make a definite action statement such as ‘By March, I will be exercising 5 times a week for 45 minutes each time and I will be able to walk up the stairs at work without stopping for breath.’ Make sure your statements are specific (you need to avoid words such as more, better, less), measurable (you can tick off when you have achieved it) and achievable (not so far-fetched you do not believe you can do it).
- Small steps
Having set your action statement, set out what you will do to start the journey towards it. In the example of exercising, it might be buying a fitness device (See our article on Fitness Trackers), motivating yourself with a new gym outfit (take advantage of those sales) and trying different exercises until you find something you enjoy (See our articles on Spin Cycling and Zumba as a start). If your goal is more about changing your thinking then you need a programme. Start your journey by reading our article on positive thinking and look out for more in the series coming out over the next few months.
Change needs effort and input. This means you need to allocate time. Whether that is your ‘me time’ slots over the weeks or an allotted slot to get away and think depends on your goals and small steps. But beware the pull of the old and how easy it is to slip back into the same routine like a pair of comfortable slippers. The only outcome will be that you will be here in 12 months making the same goal.
For many of us, achieving that change will take effort and a bit of pain. My goal to shed the 20 pounds which persistently clings to bust and bottom is not going to be fun. I will have to up the exercise, down (as in reduce!) the weekend red wine, drink more water, go to sleep early and force myself to structure my life to reduce the frenetic pace which causes stress. Easy? Not a bit of it. Frankly, it would be easier to keep going as I am – I know how to do that very well and I don’t have the pain of change. Equally, I want to look in a mirror and say ‘Ta dah!’ So I need incentives. My first is a wine coloured suede dress from Gina Bacconi. See her website for amazing savings on glam but sophisticated dresses. I have bought it in my current size knowing it will look a million times better minus the Dolly Parton bust – that’s the reward and I will have it by the end of February.
- Keep going
Accept your humanness. Not every week will bring brilliant progress and there will be times when you just want to curl up and stuff the goals. Give yourself a break. Go with it but only for a day. Then visualise again and get back on the bike, on the wagon, back in the zone – whatever momentum looks like for you.
- Have fun
If you really want to achieve your goals then it is better to feel good about it. Going through hell is no way to maintain momentum. Some goals are easier achieved with the company of others or with a support group. There are a plethora of websites out there which have forums and communities with hundreds of people who are doing the journey with you and want you to succeed. If that is not your bag – then do what you can to have fun along the way. Laughing and smiling your way to success just makes the journey shorter.
Here’s to the start of a new you.