Last week we discussed how writing down one’s resolutions and creating a SMART goals structure can help one get started on some actionable changes for the new year. While a lot of us are pretty good at getting started, keeping these resolutions can be a bit more challenging.
It is pretty clear that gyms are busier in January and then go back to normal by March. We need to acknowledge that it is hard to keep resolutions and sometimes we fall off the “perfect streak” we have been striving for.
It is important for us to accept that we must revisit our resolutions throughout the process and alter them once we have a better sense of how realistic they are. Go back to the SMART goals framework and ask yourself… “was it really that realistic for me to commit to going to the gym every day?”
There is a difficult balance between choosing a resolution that is a challenge and simultaneously realistic.
Media often postulates that it takes about “30 days” to form a habit. Challenging yourself to reach that 30 day point might, in fact, be exactly what it takes to let that goal become part of your lifestyle routines. When trying to maintain motivation, I think it is best to look at things day-by-day instead of reminding yourself that you need to maintain this change forever. If you can focus on doing your best each day, after 30 days it might not feel so difficult.
But what happens if you do slip up during that first month? I would suggest that you try not to let that “slip” lead to you giving up entirely on your goals. Remind yourself that you are human and that changes to lifestyle routines are difficult to implement and maintain. You may also want to determine whether you set too many goals. Try focusing on one behaviour change at a time.
Most importantly, do not shame yourself for slip ups, but rather use it as a behaviour marker to improve upon (e.g., “I made it 8 days on this streak, let’s start again and see if I can beat it”).
If you have not already started a resolution for the new year, here are ten ideas that don’t include the obvious diet and exercise goals:
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.