It is the second week of February 2019, days are getting longer already, yet more than 50% of New Year’s resolutions have already died. There are a couple of reasons and once you understand them you can see how you can successfully change.
First of all, waiting for the first of January to make a change is a recipe for failure. If you want to accomplish something why wait for a certain date? If you think about it “Tomorrow I will chance” is one of the worst resolutions one can have, because the next day there is a new tomorrow, followed by a next one until the world stops turning.
I gave a presentation at the Vondelgym end of November last year explaining that only 3 hours of training per week is enough to run a marathon with a good result. 15 people signed up for the program and they didn’t wait until January 1st, they all started in December. Half of them ran the half marathon of Egmont on January 13thin preparation of the full marathon in Rotterdam or Paris. They all finished and were all thrilled with their achievement.
If you feel the need to change something get on with it straight away. Having said that, it does make sense to have a plan. Most of the runners wouldn’t have made it if they just started running. It does make sense to determine your why, what, and how.
Create a big enough WHY. Determine why you want to make a change helps you to not just set a goal but understand why you want to reach that goal. If you are able to, make the why bigger than yourself. Then, it becomes even stronger. Why? Because you once you know why you are doing it, it becomes easier to do follow up on your resolution. If you just tell yourself you want to run more often, it’s much harder to get out of bed in the morning when it is still dark, wet and cold than if you train because you are collecting sponsor money for your marathon to cure a disease. Make it personal, make it count.
Plan Small Steps
A lot of people fail because they want to go too far too fast. Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, found that on average it takes people 66 days to create a new habit. And that is exactly what we try to achieve. Trade one habit (sitting on the couch with our phone) and transform it into another – do more exercise to increase health energy, health, focus and work towards our WHY. But most people never get even close to the 66 days because they give up.
The best way is to start with a plan containing small achievable steps and notice the difference they create. When you notice the result and you celebrate your achievements it becomes easier to take the next step. Take it as a journey with stepping stones towards your goal.
Most people fail because they start going to the gym 5 times a week or start a strict diet. They totally depend on will power and motivation, but both don’t last. They are likely to get over-trained, tired, injured or craving for the food and drinks they are not allowed anymore and give up.
Balance is they key word here. Start small, feel the difference, enjoy the result and take the next small step. Don’t punish yourself if you eat something unhealthy or skip a training because life got in the way. Just be happy with all the steps you did take and get on with it. Positivity gets you a lot further. Make the change part of yourself.
Break it down
Taking small steps also makes it easier to break up you goal into smaller sub goals. Breaking it down helps to confirm you are on the correct path. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem in light of your bigger goal. You are on a road trip to sustainable results. The trip has many stops. At every stop look back on what you have achieved already, give yourself a pat on the back and move on.
Write it down & share
It helps to write your WHY and sub goals down. Just write them on a small piece of paper and stick it where you can seem them every day, just as a small reminder. Or set it as a recurring notification in your phone.
Sharing them with family and friends helps as well. It feels more definite once you have told others what you try to achieve. But you will be surprised how much easier it gets with a little support now and then. Especially when your WHY is big enough.
Ask for support
Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your loved ones to get into a new habit. Get a trainer to help you to get started, ensure you have the right technique or prepare a personal plan to get you to your goal most effectively. No one said you have to figure it out all by yourself. You are never too old to learn. Before you know it, you will find you are capable of so much more than you could ever imagine. As long as you know why you do it, take it step by step and keep balance.
It’s the second week of Feb, let’s go!
Now is the best time to start. What are you waiting for? Take today as the first day to make a change. It doesn’t matter if you have given up on your 2019 resolution, this is the first day of the rest of your life. There is no need to wait until January 1st2020. I’m here for you if you need a little help.