2016 is a week old. Some people’s new year’s resolutions might already have failed dramatically (I hope not yours). Other people “don’t do new year’s resolutions”. “Nonsense”, they say. Are they right?
I can’t help, but I still make some new resolutions every year. Not out loud of course, I nodd and say “nonsense indeed”, but think of what I would like to change this year. Having more adventures than last year is definitely #1 on my list. My second aim is to get in a better shape. Not only for the sake of getting the perfect body – although I wouldn’t complain about that – but mostly to increase my physical endurance for hiking and to enjoy my adventures even more. An healthier diet would then be a wise thing to add to this list, wouldn’t it?
I bet more physical activity and eating healthier is in
the top 5 of most common new year’s resolutions. At least – and I admit this shamefully – it has been in my top 5 for the past few years. So why do these resolutions often not lead to long-lasting behavior change? Are the pessimists right, is it all nonsense?
I’m an optimist, so by default I don’t think that new year’s resolutions are nonsense. I see the sillyness, though, in how we make those resolutions. By just intending to ‘get in shape’ or whatever it is you want, it won’t miracly happen.
For real behavior change, you need a specific plan. Ideally, I would like to run three times a week and train for the half marathon. This may sound good, but this is what happened in the past: the first week, I runned three times (woohoo!). I even started thinking of signing up for a race. The next week, however, I didn’t make it and only trained one time. The week after, disillusioned, I stopped running. A few months later, this proces repeated itself.
So what to do? The stupid thing is, I used to give behavior therapy – to children though – but still. Applying the principles to yourself, however, is something completely different, but let’s try. A must-do is taking baby steps that are likely to have a high success rate. For instance, it’s more likely that I can make one running training a week instead of three. So I need to accomplish 25 runs in half a year. That’s doable, isn’t it? It’s also good to prepare yourself for failure. I may not make it one week, but that doesn’t mean that it has all been for nothing. No, I should just start again the next week. Another trick is to visualize yourself in a moment of weakness and think about what motivation speech you could give yourself at these times.
Last, I heard that it’s good to share your resolutions with your social network (would a blog count as well?). So make a plan and scream it out loud!
PS. #4: I will blog more this year!