04 Dec New Year Resolutions: Part 2
New Year Resolutions: a recipe for success
In the first part (click here) of this post, we looked at how, despite our best intentions, most New Year Resolutions are destined to fail: romantic ideas about change, busy lives, lack of planning and procrastination all conspire to our failed resolutions.
But now, there are lots of ideas from reputable sources, that can help us.
Being Logical about New Year’s Resolutions
Make small changes
Tweak existing things, don’t nuke them. The idea of people making massive changes is an Urban Myth. It can be done, but often at enormous cost. Why? Because we have to learn to live the change. We have to become a new idea of ourselves. In reality, these massive changes don’t last.
Be kind to yourself. The effects of any change take time to show. Some changes are immediate, but most take days, weeks or even months to reveal themselves. There are no short-cuts.
Set a date
This is not procrastination: it gives the change an importance. It sets you up an opportunity to anticipate and yearn for the change. It prepares you psychologically. It increases the desire to make the change. (It also gives you the chance to reconsider and change you mind, thereby avoiding the self-blame associated with failure).
So how do we actually put this into practice?
Choose a date
No secret here then: the first of January. Circle the date on the calendar. Your job is to now build up a sense of importance. How can we do that?
But, Start now – prepare …
I know that it sounds contradictory, but, that’s right. We’ve chosen a future date on which to start our resolution, but we are starting now. But now we are only making small changes. We’re practising. We’re collecting information. We are readying ourselves.
- You might want to start Pilates. So, book your Trial Lesson at the studio. Book in a couple more before the New Year and then just arrange to come twice a week for a month (in order to learn th exercises) before joining a Group Class.
- Say you want to eat healthier foods. Try new recipes now. Check out where you can buy the ingredients. Buy them, try them. Talk to others, find like-minded souls. Make it social – that’s your support network right there.
- You want to stop smoking? Learn to navigate a social event with fewer cigarettes. Decide on places where you are never going to smoke (in fact that was how I finally managed to quit). Decide on a time that you are never going to smoke.
- Increase your daily walking distance. Do you have a pedometer? Buy one. Get you baseline: how far do you walk daily? How much do you want to increase it by? Find pleasant places to walk and try them out: Canal Towpaths, Cannon Hill Parks, Warley Woods, The Lickey Hills are good examples of where you might start. Find someone to join you…
Stick to the date
Did you see what we have done? A trial run. A practice.
- Maybe you’ll change you’re mind and scratch the resolution. It’s an intelligent choice. You won’t have to suffer the pain and (sometimes perceived) humiliation. And it’s always there for another day.
- Maybe you’ll tweak your resolution: that’s cool too. It means that you’ve taken note of the results of your trial period. That’s intelligent.
- Maybe you’ll be all fired up and, more importantly, prepared to meet the challenge.
What am I doing?
I am a Marathon that has not run consistently for months! The stresses involved with selling the studio in Turkey, moving back to the UK, starting a new business are all factors that have meant that, despite best intentions, I have not been running. I miss the mountain trails behind my old studio in Turkey. I miss the sunshine. I miss the street dog, “Gumpy”, that would accompany me on my runs – sometimes as long as 40 kilometres. I know those trails like the back of my hand…
Running around inner city Birmingham doesn’t hold the same appeal: Acock’s Green, Small Heath and Sparkbrook are a world apart from the mountain of the Aegean Coast – the romance of the ancient Hellenic World!
So, in my case, Marathon Training starts up again after a long hiatus on January 1st. 2018.
I start preparing on the first of December:
- I’m going to run just three time in the first week.
- One Park Run in Cannon Hill Park: it’s short, just 5km. But it’s fun and it’s social. There are hundreds of people running, just like me.
- Twice to work:
- once on a weekday with an 8:00 am lesson. This is an experiment in logistics. The results will tell me what measures I need to implement in order to do this regularly come 2018.
- once again on a Saturday with a later start
- The week after, I’ll do four runs – adding in a longer Sunday morning run…
By doing making these small changes, starting now and setting a date for the future, I will be insuring myself against failure, I’ll be testing the water and will have time to adjust my goals without ever having to admit failure to myself.