I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and safe 2023.
This week's short but topical newsletter is about how to keep your New Year's resolutions.
Hopefully, you've managed to keep them alive until now. Although I read in the Washington Post that 23% of people drop their resolutions after one week. Apparently, the highest number of people abandon them on January 19!
What's the secret to keeping them going?
The secret to achieving your New Year's Resolutions
Here's what I have learnt. One thing. Consistency.
You have undoubtedly heard this many times - "be consistent!". But knowing this is obviously not working for the vast majority of people, according to the abandonment rate.
"Consistency" is not working because people don't know how to be consistent.
In other words, consistency is an outcome of other factors you have to get right.
Here are four factors which, if you get them right, then you will enable consistency:
- Clarity of Purpose
Clarity of purpose can be powerful via intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Although people say that intrinsic motivation (doing it for your own satisfaction) tends to be more lasting this is not necessarily the case.
I started exercising 25 years ago to ensure that I would be around for as long as possible for my family. That remains my key motivation - an extrinsic one. I also get personal satisfaction from achieving exercise goals - an intrinsic motivation.
Once you get clear on your purpose, this keeps you on track and gets you back on track when you fall off.
Convenience is crucial. For exercise, it means making it easy to do the thing you wish to do, so that the inconvenience never becomes an excuse.
For exercise, it may mean exercising at work, or home. For food and diet, it means getting rid of the temptations and making it easier to reach for the right things.
Convenience also entails making your resolution fit your lifestyle. It may mean doing something new, but if this is way out of step with the rhythm of your lifestyle, it will have little chance of success.
A lack of convenience is one of the biggest enemies of consistency.
Community means whatever it means for you. For example, I go to the gym by myself, and aside from classes, I tend to stick to myself. But I see many familiar faces, and it feels friendly. On the other hand, you may need more socialisation and a routine of classes to keep you motivated.
Finding the type of "community" that works for you will ensure consistency.
Chunking means not setting massive, ambitious goals that overpower you and are not sustainable.
For example, don't start F45 twice weekly at 5:30am if you have never exercised. Instead, start lighter exercise at 6:30am twice a week - one session of aerobics and one of strength training. Also, don't cut your calories by 40% and expect to keep up your "diet". Instead, cut down by 20% (and focus on removing the least healthy foods). This is more sustainable.
In summary, focus on the small chunks of change that you can manage and sustain, which fit your lifestyle, are convenient, align with your desired community, and are consistent with your purpose.
Doing this will make it remarkably easier to be consistent and stick with your resolutions.
Good luck; I'm sure you'll succeed. Let me know how you are going.