How To Stick To Your New Years Resolutions: Part 1

If you’ve made a new year’s resolution but fear you’re going to have trouble sticking to it, this short series of blog posts will help.

Sticking to new year’s resolutions can be challenging and this is normally down to the fact that old habits die hard!

Changing our habits can be difficult, but over the next 3 blog posts I will explain the steps we can to take to stand the best chance of seeing our new year’s resolutions through.

Do New Years Resolutions Work?

There’s some debate as to whether it’s good to set new years resolutions as we often don’t stick to them long-term. In reality it doesn’t matter what time of year we set our goals, as long as we stick to them.

The upside of new year’s resolutions is that there are other people around us that are doing the same thing, which can be motivating, and talking about our new year’s resolutions can make us more accountable.

The downside of new year’s resolutions is that come mid-January we often fall back into our ‘normal’ patterns of behaviour as we get back to our daily routines in the new year.

Step 1 – Choose One Action

The first step in sticking to your new year’s resolution is choosing the one action that offers you the best chance of moving towards your goal.

Lets say that your goal is to get fit – going to the gym is one action that offers you the best chance of moving towards your goal.

Diet is another good example – if your goal is to start eating more healthily throughout the week and you’ve decided to eat more healthily at lunchtime, preparing your lunch the night before is one action that will ensure you eat more healthily during the day.

Here are a few examples of one action that will bring about positive change:

Goal One Action
Get fit Going to the gym (regularly)
Eat more healthily Preparing the next day’s food the night before
Increase water intake Drinking a glass of water every morning on waking
Going to bed earlier Start your pre-bed routine at a set time every night

Why Just One Action?

When we want to reach a goal we may be tempted to try to change multiple things at once but we need to be careful – when we focus on more than one action at once we increase the amount of energy needed to build these new behaviours. Two actions, for example, takes twice the energy to perform compared to just one.

Negative Actions

Even though stopping performing negative actions is a good thing, it’s not enough to just commit to stopping such actions – we need to replace them! If we just focus on stopping our negative actions we leave gap that needs to be filled. If we don’t fill this gap with a positive action, it’s very easy to fall back on our old habits.

For example:

  • Drinking less coffee is a negative action

but…

  • Drinking one coffee per day and then green tea for the rest of the day, is a positive action

To give ourselves the best chance of success we need to drill down and focus on the one single positive action that will bring us the biggest chance of success for building our new behaviour.

Stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll cover creating an ‘over-solution’ for your one action.