The Secrets to Making Your New Year's Resolution Stick
There are countless books and articles on how to make a New Years Resolution work, and what I am offering isn’t really new either, just a different perspective. Perhaps, my perspective will help you stick to your New Year’s resolution.
Many people make the mistake of committing to more than one resolution, but the truth of the matter is if you had trouble sticking with commitments in prior years, you need to reset your way of thinking. Focus on one particular resolution that is the most important, and commit to that one and only change.
FYI: Did you know that it takes 21 days to create a habit? This means, what ever you decide to take on, stay with the program for at least 21 days before you decide that the task is not worth the effort.
It takes a minimum of 18 days to undo a bad habit. If your resolution is to stop smoking, quit drinking, or quitting anything that is harmful to your body, you must stay with your plan for at least 18 days.
It takes 7 minutes for a craving to pass. If you are a smoker, drinker, pill popper, or a snack-o-holic, resist the urge for at least 7 minutes and your craving will pass. For someone on a relapse in need of a fix, 7 minutes can seem as an eternity. Most people need something to occupy their time while trying to quit a habit. For a smoker, it isn’t so simple, especially if you are used to a daily pattern. Most smokers enjoy smoking in the car, smoking during break amongst other smokers, smoking during a social gathering, during moments of depression, being alone, etc. All these scenarios must be changed in order to help you quit. If you change your everyday pattern, your chances of success will be more apparent. Try reading during your breaks or eating a healthy snack like fruits and cheeses to pass the time. Engage in conversation with people who aren’t smokers. If depression is the reason you smoke, you need special attention from a therapist to help you trough this transition.
After a few weeks, your senses will begin to change. Cigarettes will no longer have the same affect on you. The smell of smoke will actually begin to be less of a craving. As a smoker, you are accustomed to your clothes smelling like smoke, so it wasn’t as noticeable before. You still have the craving and the desire to light up will still be present, but it’s beginning to fade. Your urge is dissipating and the light at the end of the tunnel is not so far.
The same 21 day rule applies for any new resolution you challenge yourself too, for instance, joining a gym. We are creatures of habit. In hindsight, adding an hour a day to our daily regiment seems like a large commitment to conditioning your body. The way to staying motivated is joining with a friend or family member. For most New Year resolutionist, joining a gym or beginning an exercise regiment at home as part of your resolutions is one of the hardest goals to obtain, because it takes true dedication. It is too easy to make an excuse and sleep in or say you had a long day at work and just want to go home. This is why joining a gym with a friend who shares the same goals will help you stay motivated. If 5 days a week seems too much, start out slow and only go 3 times a week. Take a tour with a personal trainer and find out what the gym offers and do only what you will enjoy. If a spin class is the only thing that catches your attention, only do that. If lifting weights is all you want to do, then do it. Joining a gym doesn’t mean you have to do “cardio” and lift weights as a complete package. The important thing is to have fun, so you will want to come back.
For the 21 day rule to work, you must not miss a single day. If you go to a gym for 3 days a week, it will take 7 weeks to fulfill the 21 days. If you cheat this rule, you are only cheating yourself. If you light up a cigarette, you must repeat the entire process over from day one.
The No. 1 cause for failing almost any New Years Resolution is the family. Many people just don’t have the time to exercise and commit to a daily routine when you have to tend to children at home to take care of and it is more difficult to commit when your spouse or loved ones aren’t supportive of your goals. The other people in your life must know how important this is for you and they must know that their encouragement is just as important, otherwise you are likely to fail. If you are on a diet to lose weight and you are in a household that loves to eat food rich in carbohydrates and fat, you will most likely slip up during your diet. Little slip ups will happen more likely and will continue to happen until you’ve given up on your diet completely. Your family needs to know that you are serious about your plan to lose weight. Encourage them to do this with you, or at least limit the amount of unhealthy food when you are not around.
If you are on a diet and you are starving yourself of things you enjoy most like your favorite ice cream, chocolate, or even french fries, do not completely deprive yourself of those things. Set aside one day a week for a special treat to yourself. Completely depriving yourself of things you crave the most will lead to failure and binging. Binging will offset your progress and undo everything you accomplished. Keep in mind, if you cheat during your diet, do not “throw your hands up” and give up all hope. Many people who fail in a diet, give up completely only to go back to how they were before. It is okay to go off track, but continue from the beginning the very next day. The main reason people diet is so they can improve their appearance and feel better about themselves. Make this a life altering choice and make it apart of everyday life.
The secret in making a New Years Resolution stick is to make sure the people around you that care about you are included in your plan. Without them, you will have a harder time reaching your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You never want to start something alone. Over time, you won’t need the support of other people as much, but during those first 21 days, it is imperative to have support from your friends and family. Make it fun for everyone to join in and everyone will benefit from your personal goals.
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