new year resolutions image

So, here we are two weeks into the new year. How many of your new year resolutions are you still actively pursuing and how many have drifted off into the ether?

It’s been said on numerous occasions that for a new habit to stick, you have to do it consistently for at least three weeks. However, according to research by Phillippa Lally Ph.D and colleagues from the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre (based at UCL Epidemiology and Public Health.), the average time it takes for a habit, or resolution to form is 661 days.

BUT… the actual amount of time it takes, can vary wildly. According to the same research, the participants took between 18 and 254 days.

So, if after two weeks your struggling, don’t lose heart. Here’s some tips to help make your journey easier and get you back on track……

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Are your resolutions SMART?

smart goals imageHopefully, the goals you’ve set for yourself follow the SMART system.

If not, that may be your biggest problem. If you’re not sure what SMART is, read this post first, then come back 🙂

Once you know that your goals have been structured properly, if you’re still having issues, here’s some things that should help.

Get yourself an ‘Accountability Partner’

Get someone else involved in your quest. Tell them what you’re out to achieve and ask them to keep you accountable.

It may be something as simple as reminding you everyday why your doing this. It may be that you’ll report in to them every time you feel like you might drift of-track, etc.

shake hands imageNow, I’m not saying that there won’t be times when you may have a legitimate reason for needing to stop this resolution. Let’s say for example that your resolution was to run every day. Then you find out that you have a slight muscular condition that makes running everyday become impractical, or painful.

However, more often than not, our reasons are merely excuses and you need someone who can call you out on them. Generally speaking, partner’s and good friends, etc. aren’t great candidates for an accountability partner, though.

Partners and close friends usually want us to be happy and so tend to encourage us to do what makes us happy. What we really need, is someone to push us to achieve something that we need to do, but is making us uncomfortable in the moment.

Think again about why you’re doing this.

contemplate imageWhen you set the goal/resolution initially, you should have given yourself a good reason for doing it.

When you’re feeling like calling it a day, go back and look again at your reasons. Then move forward with it again with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.

Change you thought structure.

Instead of thinking “Why am I doing this to myself”, think “It’s great that I get to do this”

rethink imageWhatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, there are thousands of people who’d love to be in a position to do what you’re doing.

Whether your resolution was to start a business, to run everyday, to go to the gym, to lose weight, etc. Whatever it is, there are people who’ll never be in a position to even try these things.

Remember how lucky you are to be in the position you’re in. When you realize that a good part of the world doesn’t have the opportunities open to them that you do, it re-frames your outlook on your plans.

Take advantage of your opportunities, rather than complaining how difficult they may seem.

Do something small

When you’re struggling a bit, or if you feel like missing a day (or so!), just do something small.

The biggest problems come from losing momentum. If you just do something every day you’ll keep the inertia going.

You can always start again

It takes time for a new behavior to become a habit and there’ll be plenty of times when you just want to give up. If you find yourself in the position of suddenly realizing that you haven’t been keeping up with your resolution. Learn what you can from the setback, then start afresh.

And remember; You haven’t failed if you fall down, you’ve only failed if you don’t get up and try again.

Are you having a particular issue? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help 🙂

Footnotes:
1. Research by Phillipa Lally of University College London ~ How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world.

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