2021 Resolution Hacks
Breaking a New Year’s resolutions is a time-honoured tradition, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting fit and losing weight are two of the world’s most common resolutions, and both depend on making daily changes to your life. This means interrupting your normal habits and exchanging them for new ones. Unfortunately, we humans aren’t so good at this.
But don’t lose hope! There are ways to turn bad habits into good ones. Our yoga instructor Shahad takes a popular resolution—wanting to get in shape—and walks us through how to accomplish that goal by breaking it down into smaller, more achievable goals.
Break It Down
One reason why so many resolutions fail is that they’re just too big. Big, abstract and “airy-fairy” goals make the worst resolutions because your brain is terrible at accomplishing them. It’s easy to keep mindlessly moving through your daily grind, so you’ll likely keep forgetting to “exercise more”, “learn something new” or “eat healthier.”
Shahad suggests that you revise your goal from “getting in shape” into something into smaller and more achievable. Pick one identifiable thing that you want to be able to do by the end of December 2021 and then ask yourself a lot of questions about it.
Maybe you want to lose weight, run 10 kilometres, learn to do a headstand or just stretch more often to become more flexible. It should be lofty but still. realistic. Then break it down and make your plan as to how you will do it. Ask yourself how plan to do it, maybe who you’d like to do it with, and then the when, where and why you chose it.
Take the lofty goal of losing weight, for example. Think about how much you want to lose by the end of the year then break it down to how much you want to lose by the end of each month. Set an achievable goal for each month and document your progress. Think about what steps you will take to lose 3 kg by the end of February. Will you need to eat out less, do 10,000 steps per day or cardio at least 3 times per week? Daily habits will become ingrained the fastest when you make them achievable and hold yourself accountable, so make a task calendar, set a time to do the tasks and stick to it.
Holding yourself accountable will be fundamental to your success. Shahad suggests that writing it down is one concrete way to take ownership of your goal. Document your progress in a diary. Record what you feel grateful for. Account for the days that you felt really successful and reward yourself accordingly. Likewise, acknowledge the days that you didn’t feel as successful by examining the obstacles that held you back and—whatever you do—don’t let the obstacles hold you back. Fight back the urge to shrink back into a negative mindset, acknowledging your previous progress may be just enough to keep you on track for the harder days.
If you don’t have time to do this every day, Shahad adds that a weekly reflection is just fine. Just make sure that whatever day you choose to record your journey; you stick to it.
Treat yourself to a nice new diary to record your journey. Buy a journal and a new pen from a stationery shop you love. An enticing new book and pen may help to encourage you to keep up the good work.
Keep It Up For 2 Months
Don’t expect the first couple of months to be easy. Assume you won’t want to go to the gym or take the time to stretch every day after a long day at work, but remind yourself to push through that feeling.
On average, it takes 66 days for people to form a new habit. This is about how long it takes your brain to form a strong enough connection to an action so it can become automatic. Remind yourself that it’s difficult to change quickly. You may be a person who only needs a few weeks to ingrain a habit or you may need several months, but you will get there in good time if you stick to it.
It may feel daunting now, but in the grand scheme of your life two months amounts to virtually nothing. Once you change your habits, it will be just as hard to break the new ones as it was to form them in the first place.