As you’re reading this, we’re exactly five days into 2020 and that means you’re also five days into all those bold resolutions you made as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Research tells us that some 90 per cent of Australians will have welcomed 2020 with a resolution or two, with the most common being to lose weight, drink less, eat better or to learn a new language or skill.
But like most decisions made with a glass of champagne in hand, our New Year’s resolutions tend to look a little shaky in the cold, hard light of day. So much so that, even as you read this, most of us have will have already abandoned those solemn New Year’s Eve promises, or are in the process of doing so.
In fact, one American study found that more than 80 per cent of us will have ditched our new goals by just the second week of February. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here is a sure-fire strategy for sticking to those resolutions.
The most important step on the new-you journey isn’t to reach for the sky, but to keep your goals a little closer to ground level. If you haven’t laced up a running shoe in decades, for example, then telling yourself you’ll run a marathon by the end of January is about as realistic as promising yourself you’ll stick to just one drink on New Year’s Eve.
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But if you set realistic goals — ones that you can actually accomplish before setting the next one — then the finish line isn’t some distant and hard-to-reach place, but the logical conclusion to the little milestones you’ll hit along the way.
It’s called the SMART goal system (it stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound), and it’s all about setting achievable goals, and giving yourself a time frame to complete them.
So forget the marathon and start with running a kilometre without stopping before the end of January. Then make it two, then five, then 10, and before you know it that marathon will be within your grasp.
SHARE THE PAIN
How many times have you gone to bed at night promising yourself you’ll wake up early and hit the gym, only to find yourself groping for the snooze button when the alarm sounds?
That’s because there’s no-one to hold you accountable but you, and let’s be honest, if we could really rely on ourselves to make the best decisions there’d be no need to make New Year’s resolutions in the first place.
But if you had someone waiting for you outside the gym at 6am? Or if you’d told your family or friends you were getting into shape? That’s a different story, right?
It’s the power of social expectation, and studies have shown your chances of success increase by up to 65 per cent when you share your goals publicly.
FIND YOUR WHY
There will always be hard days — those mornings when you can’t be bothered, those long days when the bright lights of the fast-food restaurants draw you in like a magnet — and it’s in those moments when you’ll need a little extra boost of willpower.
And for all of us, that means finding your ‘why’, or your reason for making this change in the first place.
Maybe it’s because you want to be able to keep up with your kids, or perhaps it’s because you want to stay fit and healthy as you age, or maybe it’s simply because you’ve always regretted not paying more attention in high-school Spanish.
Whatever it is, focus on the why rather than the why not, and you’ll find the motivation you need to keep going.
Question: Hi Adam. It’s the season for sore heads, and New Year’s Day was a brutal one for me. Have you got any sure-fire hangover cures?
Answer: The best hangover cure? Don’t drink the night before. It’s boring but it’s true. But if it’s already too late, then it’s most likely you are dehydrated but ditch the sugary sports drink and instead reach for a banana (potassium is the key to hydration) and a tall glass of coconut water. You might not feel great, but you will feel better!
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