As 2019 draws to a close and 2020 gets ready to shine, it is time to talk about the well known player that rises from obscurity at the eve of each new year: The New Year Resolution.
The new year resolutions are a plenty and I am sure you have had one at one point or another. Perhaps you have one right now. For 2020. This in fact is likely. Mention it in the comments if I am correct (I’ll wait).
New year resolutions act as a way for us to conceptualise our goals and attach a time frame to it so as to make sure we do it. Sounds lovely. Sounds promising. Inevitable even.
But is it? Or are resolutions actually intangible promises to ourselves that may or may not eventuate?
Well isn’t that the question of the day. It is the question I aim to answer for you today in this blog post that you so wisely chose to read (appreciate it btw).
New Years Resolution or New Years False Promise?
Ok let’s start with me stating a fact: I am not a fan of the notion of ‘new year's resolutions’.
Yes that is correct. I’m a dietitian who loves seeing people make health change yet I’m #hatin on new year's resolutions...the very thing that promotes making a health change. Well I know how weird it may sound but let me explain (it’s actually quite simple).
I don’t believe health change should be defined by an arbitrary time when the change could have started yesterday.
See it’s as simple as that. The reason I don’t like new years resolutions as they stand at the most basic level is because they are excuses disguised as goals for many people. Not for all but for a lot. Even if they may not truly realise it is themselves.
These resolutions become a timely declaration of one's desires to save face among their peers. And to save face to themselves: making themselves feel and others think like they are taking action towards their goals.
But sometimes it is genuine and sometimes it’s shrouded in fallacy.
Well think back to a time you had a new years resolution that went nowhere or you started then stopped. A time when your new year's resolution did a Keyser soze and *poof*...vanished.
Well that is a prime example of why, how, and when new year's resolutions don’t live up to the hype they bring with them. Instead you need to switch your mentality around these “declarations of change”, so to speak.
Because at the end of the day (or end of the year should I say *ba dum ching*), the idea of a new year's resolution is awesome. Re-amping your life by changing something for the better (even if it is limited by a specific time of the year).
However, it is how you go about it and how you view it that matters. I challenge you to reframe it from a new YEARS resolution to a….
New LIFE resolution.
The New Life Resolution Reframe
So why a ‘new years resolution’?
Well this stems back to the fact that health change and your nutrition needs to be a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Something that is more long term than an effort in January of year xyz.
I want to ask you a question: Are you after a lifestyle change or a quick and easy solution to your problem?
Well if you answered NO then there is no way you can establish a new life resolution yet. And trust me friend, a new life resolution is better and alot more powerful than a classic good ol new years resolution.
Why? Well because it is long-term focussed and driven by something more than a specific month of the year. Afterall, why are you resting the fate of your goal on something so transient.
Your lifestyle resolution is empowered by your true ‘why’ for wanting to reach your peak potential. And that is why you need to reframe your goal in this way.
And here are some clear ways you can change from yearly resolutions to lifestyle resolutions.
How To Optimise Your Resolution Game
Here are the considerations you need to make when developing a foolproof resolution that withstands the test of ‘time’ (aka January and February).
1) Discover your ‘why’ (then tailor your goals towards it)
The more multi-dimensional your goal is, the more likely it will brave the choppy waters and waves of motivation and discouragement. And the best way to achieve this is to establish why you are truly wanting to do abc to achieve xyz.
Simply ask yourself why after each prior why until you’ve dug deep enough that your answers are exhausted. That is the true reason that will drive you to take the necessary action to achieve the desired result/s.
2) Develop a long term mentality when it comes to your health
A short term mindset leads to a pursuit of instant gratification. And this in itself is a big reason that new year's resolutions and declarations of health change usually fall flat (nice way of saying flat out fail).
The fix, however, is simple yet takes time to reinforce. You want to be thinking long term. Your approach, the outcomes, and the ultimate goal. It will all take time and patience and by first acknowledging this and then tailoring your resolutions with a long term focus, you will slowly develop a mind that is calloused enough to avoid short term thinking.
All in all, when in doubt just know it is about understanding sh*t takes time and for good reason. So come to terms with the fact that you will be working on your nutrition for months/years/decades if you truly want to be the best you can be.
3) Make it SMART
SMART stands for SMART, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC, and TIME-STAMPED.
Make your goals SMART. Make your resolutions SMART.
SMART will be the reinforced steel that holds it all together. And too be honest, I won’t go into specifics because I actually filmed a helpful YouTube video explaining SMART goal setting which you should definitely go watch HERE.
4) Don’t wait to take action (take action yesterday)
The reason I’m not a fan of resolutions is they make people wait and think that they should start once January 1st strikes. And then the person is to make this change between some arbitrary date between the 1st of January and the end of that new year.
We have all seen this happen with people. Perhaps even yourself. There is a reason January new year's resolutions have become somewhat of a cliche. January is not deficient in people kick starting their journeys (think back to how busy your gym is in January each year) - but the number of people who stick with it is less impressive.
It’s because people jump on to the “health change bandwagon” without a true plan or direction. Marketing will bombard you with “resolutions resolutions resolutions” yet do you know what it takes or why you even want to do it?
The blunt truth is that the best time to start taking action towards your goal isn’t January. It isn’t next week. Not tomorrow. The best time was yesterday or before - second best time is today. You get my point.
Here’s a mindset exercise for you: close your eyes and think about how much further along you would be in January if you started in December/November/October etc etc. Think about it.
5) Follow individualisation not the crowd
So many people actually decide on a new year’s resolution because others around them are doing it so they follow along and feel obliged to do it. Afterall, who doesn’t want to be part of the fun? Who doesn’t want to be included in the comradery in the pursuit of health.
However, the issue lies in the fact that by doing it because he or she did it brings about it the impending likelihood of “falling off the bandwagon” that you so happened to jump on because of the influence of others.
Now I am NOT saying that deciding to work on oneself is a bad thing when it was driven by someone else. But the fact remains that there needs to be more individualisation in the decision and a more internal driving force for the change being sought.
Quite simply put, make sure you are wanting to make the xyz change because:
And for the love of pizza, please make sure your goal is 100% yours. Fully customised. #individualisation. Truly linked to YOUR why in this journey.
In essence being self-aware is what you want to be. It starts, moves, and stops with you. You are the pilot and the passenger.
So are you ready now?
By implementing these considerations you are on your way to doing resolutions the right way and establishing goals that will not only help you achieve more in 2020 but also achieve more for years to come (perhaps even a lifetime).
New year's resolutions can help you change your life or change your January - and anywhere in between. A lifestyle focussed resolution (or goal) when done right, will push you exclusively towards the former.
So that you can truly...reach your peak.
Make sense? If it doesn’t please reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can personally help you reframe your 2020 goals the right way.
P.s. If you are currently struggling and stuck with your nutrition and never seem to gain momentum towards your health and physique goals, you need expert guidance. You need professional nutrition coaching from a dietitian.
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Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Dietitian & Nutritionist. The aim of this blog is to provide value and spread quality evidence-based nutrition information to counter the BS floating around.