It’s the beginning of February and my guess is that a lot of people have or are just about to give up on their New Year’s resolutions. I totally get that. How many times have I barely made it through two weeks with my effort to get fit, eat better, stop smoking, do exercise. For whatever reason, I always could come up with a lot of excuses, and I quit.
The worst part about quitting for me is that it leaves me feeling like a loser. Inadequate. Undisciplined. Weak. Feeling like a failure won’t motivate us though to try again and stick with it. We probably wait a few months. Maybe we will start again a couple of months before beach season. Or we will try again next year.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this. Let me give you a few tips here how you can keep going. Or if you have given up after a couple of weeks, how to start again.
First, who says that you can only make resolutions on December 31. Any day can be DAY 1. Any day. Make day 1 tomorrow. The sooner you start, the sooner you will achieve your goal. And if you happen to fall off the wagon in a couple of weeks, then get back on the following day. Giving up altogether on your goal just because you slipped up once (or even twice) won’t get you there any faster!
A good way to keep yourself motivated is to think about what you would say to your child or your best friend if they give up on their goal. You probably wouldn’t say “oh well, it wasn’t meant to be then. Maybe try again next year.” No, you most likely will try to convince your friend or child to “keep going. You can do it! I believe in you. You are so much stronger than you think. Failure is part of the process, part of life.” If we only supported ourselves the way we support our friends! If we only believed in ourselves as much as we believe in our friends and family. But there you go, write this down and stick it on your mirror. Read it every morning. I am a firm believer in affirmations as you can read here.
If you are struggling or have already given up on your new year’s resolutions you may want to consider the following as well. If something doesn’t seem to work because it is too painful, too time consuming, too expensive or in any other way too hard, it is not necessarily the goal that’s wrong (just make sure the goal is realistic, losing 10 kg of fat in 2 months is probably not!). Maybe you just haven’t found the right way yet to achieve it. All roads lead to Rome, right?
If your goal was to get fit and you decided to go running 3 times a week, but you gave up after 2 weeks, ask yourself why did I stop? Is it too cold in January? Then maybe I should find something I can do indoors. Or do you actually hate running? Well, time to find an exercise you like! Tennis, rowing, cycling?
If your goal was to lose some weight and you decided to go on this diet that seemed to work for your friend, but after a couple of weeks you gave up – why did you give up? Was the food to restrictive? Was it too time consuming to prepare the meals? Did you have to eat meat 7 days a week but you prefer plant based foods? Instead of giving up on your goal, why not try something different. For example, try to avoid sugar, cut down on portion sizes, try to eat more vegetables, eat a salad before every meal. There are so many ways to eat. I certainly tried a lot of them, you can read about it in my weight loss journey.
The last point I want to make here is the following: make sure your goal is a SMART goal. Your goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific. As mentioned above, if your goal is unrealistic, it can only end in de-motivation since you will never reach it. On the other hand, if your goal is measurable (for example, increasing the number of burpees you can do in 2 minutes), gradual improvements will be very motivating. And a specific goal such as “being able to run for 30 minutes straight” is far better than to “become fit”.
I hope the above tips help. Let me know how you are going! Just remember: Make the day you read this Day 1, start again and keep going! Quitting won’t make you achieve your goal faster!