This weekend, so I believe, more people will give up on their New Year’s Resolution than at any other time. I normally skip over these types of articles but what caught my attention was the pithy headline ‘Quitters Day’ which is apparently Sunday 19th January. This comment angered me, afterall people are trying to make positive changes so why denigrate their efforts?
I don’t make resolutions at New Year, preferring instead (to try) to make changes whenever I feel it necessary, I’m a firm believer in ‘now is as good a time as any’. Nevertheless, I totally understand why people like the feeling of making a fresh start in January and I’m all for self-improvement and anything that encourages people to make positive lifestyle choices. What I think people neglect to consider is that the person celebrating when the clock strikes midnight on 31st December is the same person waking up on 1st January.
We are a product of our habits and so in order to be successful in accomplishing our goals our behaviour needs to change. Good habits are really hard to establish and really easy to break.
So how can you make your New Year’s Resolution more than just a to do list for the first week in January? There’s no shortage of advice out there, much of it is common sense although some makes habit forming seem rather daunting. My takeaway from all I’ve read is this: start off with small, manageable, ridiculously easy changes. The theory behind doing it this way is to not feel overwhelmed, you’ll be more likely stick with it, gradually gain momentum and do more. Depending on your goal, small daily tasks might include:
Drink a glass of water
Tidy one drawer
Think of one thing you’re thankful for
Read a page
Write 50 words
Do 5 push-ups
Buy one apple and eat it
Walk for 15 minutes
Spend 5 minutes on Duolingo
Meditate for 10 minutes
It’s ok if this seems too easy, it’s meant to be, at least to begin with. Congratulate yourself when you’ve completed your daily task and then do the same tomorrow. The key is perseverance because apparently habits take 60 days to fully form, no one said this would be easy. When it feels more natural and is becoming part of your routine, add to it. Try something harder and make sure you keep trying.
If you’re struggling, be kind to yourself. Sometimes you’ll slip up but that doesn’t make you a quitter, that makes you human; if you want to give it another go, you can and remember ‘you only fail when you stop trying’. You’ve got this.