New Year has come again, and again we’re making unlikely to keep New Year’s resolutions. Is the New Year a good time to start changing your lifestyle habits? Why is that the resolutions don’t usually work? What to do to actually make them work?

Why the New Year – does the date actually help?

At this time we may feel like one chapter is ending and another is about to start. In terms of motivation, the date may be actually quite helpful. Our attitude is crucial in making major changes in what we do and how we live. It’s all in our head.

But in fact, it’s not about the New Year. The real deal is in how we use this fresh-start-attitude after January the 1st – in other words, what we are actually going to do to keep our resolutions.

Why the resolutions don’t work?

The New Year’s motivation is a good thing, and it may be a good start for changing our lifestyle and achieving our fitness goals. The major change, however, should not be introduced overnight. That’s the main problem with New Year’s resolutions – we used to throw ourselves in at the deep end.

One day we’re reckless of healthy eating and being physically active, and another we resolve to go on a strict diet and to start a strenuous workout. We take an uncontrolled leap from one extreme to another. There’s the motivation, so we decide to go straight for the realization stage. And that may be why we usually fail after a few days, or weeks at best.

Why is resolution not enough?

The resolution may be a good start, but we should we should focus more on how we are going to keep it. In other words, instead of the huge uncontrolled leap we should focus on tiny reasonable steps we are going to take to reach our goal.

It’s like with reaching a mountain top – we may now decide we will reach it, but it’s impossible to run up it right the next day. A plan has to be made, first. And the plan has to be divided into several stages – feasible minor goals that are to bring us closer to the major goal. What are the steps on the way exactly? That’s what needs to be decided on in regard to our resolution.

How to make reasonable resolutions?

While making a resolution, try to focus on what exactly it means for your everyday life. In other words, “I’ll lose some weight this year” is not a strong resolution, but merely wishful thinking. Instead making such general resolutions, start with practical guidelines. Think of what will actually make you reach your goal. And don’t try to rush things up. If you want, for instance, lose some pounds to look and feel better this year, you may make some small resolutions of two types:

1.) I’ll engage in some physical activity each day.

Start with a walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a 10-minute jog. Do some exercises in front of the TV. At the beginning it shouldn’t be too time-consuming or effortful.

2.) I’ll fight one bad eating habit at a time.

You don’t have to go on a strict diet on January the 1st. Quit fast food. Replace white bread with wholegrain. Eat vegetable every day. Eat half your usual portion for dinner. Have less sugar in your tea and coffee. Do not mindlessly snack front of the TV. Change your snacks for healthy fruit, grains and low-fat dairy products. Eat fish twice a week. But don’t introduce all changes like that overnight. Take step one at a time.

This time, try to start small and slow. A long-term change does not have to be a revolution! It may be an evolution. Yes, it takes time, but it’s less risky and more likely to bring actual effects.

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.