How taking a different perspective to your New Year’s Resolutions can help you achieve your 2020 vision
With January now just days away, this is the time of year that many people the world over pull together their resolutions for the year ahead.
For many that will include engaging in regular physical activity and exercise but the likelihood is that our resolutions will be broken in matter of weeks, days or even hours.
So, what do you need to do to give yourself the best chance of developing new exercise habits this year? In this short piece, James Lambdon – Applied Sport Psychologist at Team Bath – encourages you to look at resolutions in a different way this year to maximise your chances of turning resolutions into habits that last.
Resolutions are typically very specific, achievement-focussed goals. By polarising progress as either a success or failure, we often lose sight of what we learn along the way.
Curiosity is not an end goal and that is why it is a great foundation for your New Year’s resolution/s. Start with the end in mind. What would want to know about yourself 12 months from now?
Reflecting in this way can help you to understand the value you can gain from your resolutions this year.
Focus on Strengths
Often, New Year’s resolutions are based upon an individual’s desire to change a specific behaviour (e.g. regularly going to the gym) with the aim of experiencing some form of beneficial outcome (e.g. having more energy or a better quality of life). But what happens if you were to focus on your personal strengths and use these to inform your resolutions this year?
Our strengths often play out in areas of our lives where we aren’t looking for a change. For many of us looking to create new fitness goals, there isn’t a need to develop new behaviours. The focus should be on directing your strengths toward a new or different pursuit. Dedicate time to reflect upon your strengths to use as a springboard for your new goals or resolutions.
Use Personal Values
Think about the areas of your life that are the most important to you personally. What do you enjoy about these areas? What makes them important to you? How do you know you enjoy spending time in these ways? Your responses to these questions offer some insights into the values you hold.
Underpinning your resolutions with your personal values gives you the best chance of being successful, enjoying pursuing your chosen resolution and (importantly) helps to keep you on track when things get difficult (or temptation arises!).
Breaking down an overall goal (e.g. run 5k) into smaller manageable targets along the way (e.g. run for 15 minutes straight) is one way to help keep you motivated. However, one of the most impactful and under-utilised factors when it comes to sticking to New Year’s resolutions is building in a reward system that helps you to recognise and celebrate your progress, areas of maintenance or changes that you have made. Mirror your rewards system to the smaller and larger aspects of your goal.