Every year. Like clockwork. An inevitable occurrence for many. A new year resolution is born.
The kicking off of a new year marks the time that alot of us decide to re-evaluate our lives and re-create our health and nutrition goals in a bid to “actually succeed this time, this year”.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. You probably already have a goal in mind.
Well, what if I told you that New Year Resolutions are not actually as effective and awesome as you may have been imagining?
What if I told you that they are NOT ENOUGH to help you achieve whatever goal you have in 2024?
In today’s blog, I explain the issue with new year resolutions and what you should be focussing on instead if you want a taste of that sweet nectar of “nutrition success” this year.
As 2023 draws to a close and 2024 is knocking on your door, 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.
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. It’s become a yearly routine.
You can’t help but think it will be different this time, right?
But is it? Or are resolutions actually intangible promises to ourselves that may or may not eventuate?
New Years Resolution or New Years Excuse For Perpetual “Start Stop Goal Setting”?
I am not a fan of the notion of ‘new year's resolutions’. Fact.
I’m a Dietitian and Nutritionist 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 many. 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 social circle. 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...vanished.
Well that is a prime example of why, how, and when new year's resolutions don’t live up to the hype and expectations they bring. Instead you need to switch your mindset around these “declarations of change” and into something more rooted in longevity and intent.
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 cool, sure. Re-calibrating 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 that matters. I challenge you to reframe it from a new YEARS resolution to a….
New LIFE resolution.
THE NEW LIFE RESOLUTION REFRAME EXPLAINED
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 the second one, then there is no way you can establish a new life resolution yet. And trust me, a new life resolution is better and alot more powerful than a classic new years resolution that you know and (seem to) love.
Why? Welbl because it is long-term focussed and initiated by something more intentional 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 (new life) resolutions.
Optimising Your Resolution Game - A Quick How To
Here are the considerations you need to make when developing a foolproof resolution that withstands the test of ‘time’ (aka moves you beyond January and February).
I have shared this list in years past and they always prove to be helpful. So here it goes!
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)
One of 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 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. Stop thinking in generics. And stop copying your friends.
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 there you go!
Now you know about the truth. The truth around new years resolutions and why they are not the answer to succeeding with your goal/s.
Instead you want to embrace the long term game and also create a “new life resolution” - that is what will help you focus on the right things for the right amount of time.
The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is today. Stop focussing on arbitrary times such as the start of a new year, to focus on your important goals.
Now before I leave you…I do want to ask you some things because maybe you need someone you be your guide on this journey once 2024 is well and truly kicking into gear…
Do you feel you need expert guidance when it comes to your fuelling, recovery, and nourishment in 2024?
Not seeing the body you feel happier, healthier, and more confident in?
Performance lagging like an early 2000’s dial up internet setup?
I may be able to be of assistance.
If you are ready to take your nutrition and body to the next level and elevate your performance in a way that doesn’t make you want to punch your Sports Dietitian, then let’s chat.
I have developed a bespoke nutrition coaching solution that allows you to work with me personally 1:1 to help start bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be with your physique & performance.
In this program, I'll personally coach you using my flexible nutrition system to help you harness the power of calories and macro strategy to regain your competitive edge - think of it as a bespoke nutrition solution that empowers you to eat better to achieve better.
If you want to have someone in your corner guiding you with all this, ensuring you only focus on the ‘right stuff’, and get better results while doing it all… send me an email and let’s chat.
I do high level nutrition coaching for active professionals and athletes and I have spots open for new clients wanting to leverage the power of nutrition with a Sports Dietitian
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Brisbane Sports Dietitian and Nutritionist
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Sports Dietitian & Brisbane Sports Nutritionist. I have 7+ years experience in providing professional nutrition consulting and want to help you learn about the power of flexible nutrition.