“I’ve managed to maintain my New Year’s Resolution to become a regular gym-goer, but I am fading fast. Any advice on maintaining my progress and how to avoid failing my resolution like so many others?” –New Year’s Retry
That’s a great question, and a brave one at that. While New Year’s Resolutions are on everyone’s mind in January, it’s taboo to talk about them in March. That’s because so many of us have already fallen off our commitments and reverted to our original practices.
It comes back to the fact that changes we make will remain temporary unless we adopt them as lifestyle changes. Hence, this is why diets rarely work.
Now that we are a couple months into the year, let’s reevaluate our resolutions and see if we can’t make them a bit more realistic and achievable given what we’ve learned.
Let’s begin my restating our resolution, regardless of whether it has been a success, failure or somewhere in between. Saying it out loud again and resetting it puts past mistakes where they belong and allows us to focus on the weeks ahead.
Next, let’s look at why we may have struggled and what barriers prevented us from achieving the success we are looking for. So, if your goal was to exercise more, evaluate the methods you were using and what other options are available. Perhaps you were doing a home exercise program, but a lack of motivation stood in your way. Now it might be time to look at the gym (where things have gotten a lot less busy with the New Year’s crowd falling off), or a yoga studio, for example.
After that, build a support system for yourself. While in January, it’s easy to find others focused on a goal similar to yours, March is a bit different. We are moving into a lull, an end of semester territory where it’s much harder to stay motivated and find those that will remain there with us. Even if they are not working toward the same goal, our friends, family, significant others, etc. need to be brought on board to help create an environment of success. If your goal is nutritional, the contents of your kitchen are important and bringing roommates on board may be critical.
Finally, plan and schedule! Bearing in mind a potential faculty strike, end of semester assignments and exams are going to make the next few weeks hectic, but that’s no reason to give up on our personal health. In fact, achievements and good personal upkeep make us more productive and less stressed. While in the moment it doesn’t feel like working out is a priority, we’ll be better off for it.
Scheduling is the key to making sure we achieve our goals. I think I’ve said this before, but if we don’t want our exercise resolutions to meet their end in March, we need to put them at the same priority as school, work and our social life. Once they have been bumped to a secondary priority, it’s easy to justify putting almost anything ahead of that trip to the gym.
Remember, if your resolutions are falling by the wayside, don’t fret. There is still time to salvage your goals and have something to celebrate when this year comes to an end. New Year’s is not the only time we can make positive changes in our lives. Follow these simple steps to reevaluate your goals and make the best of the upcoming spring (a “new year” in itself) to better yourself and get that wonderful feeling of achievement.
If, by chance, you are one of those people that are actually accomplishing your personal health-related resolutions—besides being despised by all of your friends—give yourself a pat on the back and find a friend that needs a little extra motivation. Your support could go a long way in spreading your personal success around.