By Crispin Jones
Millions of people make a new year’s resolution each year, but the vast majority of those resolutions are either forgotten, or given up on, within just three months. If you want to make sure that you’re one of the few that sticks to their resolution, and succeeds in their goal – whether that’s to do a 5k run, get a new job, or lose a certain amount of weight, then read on. The following tips will help you to stay motivated, and succeed at your goals.
One Step At a Time
No matter how strong willed and motivated you are, it’s usually not possible to go from starting point to success overnight. If your goal were to bench press your bodyweight, you wouldn’t start with that and grunt and strain even though the bar wasn’t moving – you’d start with a lighter weight, and add a bit more each time you went to the gym. Do the same with your resolution. If you want to lose 20lbs by the summer, make your goal to lose 4lbs per week. If you want to do a 5K run, start with a shorter distance, or by jogging and walking a little, and reducing the amount of walking you do each workout.
Track Your Steps
We are our own worst critics, and this becomes very evident when we try to evaluate long-term progress. One reason that many resolutions get broken after the first couple of months is that people get discouraged. Starting something new is inspiring, and early successes come quickly, but once things start to slow down, it’s easy to think you’re getting “nowhere”, even though you are actually steadily moving forward.
That’s why tracking your progress is so important. If you’re trying to lose weight or get fitter, regular measurements will give you something to look back on. Your lifts may only be increasing one kilogram per week – but that’s twelve kilograms in three months – and that’s not bad at all! Your 5K run time may only have improved by 30 seconds in a couple of months, but when you realize that in December 2011 you couldn’t even run 1K without stopping to catch your breath, you’ll probably feel a whole lot better!
Accept That Failure Happens
Usually, New Year’s resolutions are made about things that are difficult to do. That means that failures will happen. If you resolve to stop smoking, you probably will cave and have a cigarette at some point during the quitting process. If you resolve to go to the gym 3 times a week, you will get sick and miss a session. That doesn’t matter. One or two failures here and there are not important, as long as you recognize that they’ve happened, and move on straight away. Don’t say “oh, well I had one cigarette today, I may as well have another and re-quit tomorrow”. Accept your mistake, and get straight back to work. It’s that dedication that is the secret to success.
This article was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of The Poppy Run; organisers of 5k runs across the country held in aid of The Poppy Appeal.