New Year's resolutions: how to keep them?

Reading time: 5 minutes

It's decided, next year I'm going for it! Are you interested?

Did you also have good resolutions last year? Didn't you keep them? Well, I didn't either! So don't expect me to judge you...

That said, there's a good chance we'll be doing the same thing again in a few days' time... and throwing it all away in January! So, you know me, I thought I'd come up with a few tips to help us keep those resolutions...

And since I'm nice, I'll share them with you. (And don't thank me, I get paid for it!)

Tempted? Let's go!

January 12: resolution stop day

 

It's the result of a survey(Strava 2019): we give up our end-of-year resolutions on the second Friday of the first month of the year. For 2024, that means January 12!

The English call it quit's day!

To be more precise, 80% of people would drop their New Year's Eve commitments compared with 8% who would stick to them , according to a study by the University of Scranton (2012)...

What resolutions? They're varied: getting back into sport, quitting smoking, losing weight, giving up on junk food, and so on. According to these studies, 55% of resolutions concern our health, and we abandon them because the results aren't visible quickly enough!

 

Why do we fail?

 

▪️ Motivation problem

Ask yourself why: who are you doing it for? For yourself or for others? Can you do it: do you have the means, the skills? Do you have the right motivation? If not, inevitably, it won't stick.

 

▪️ Lens problem

Is your objective S.M.A.R.T ? Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely... Be as precise as possible in your objectives, check their progress regularly, be reasonable in your aims, respect your limits and give yourself a date for achievement.  

Rome wasn't built in a day! Be realistic and set achievable goals. Don't set your sights too high, and don't adopt contradictory resolutions... It's safer!

 

▪️ Methodological problems

In sport, as elsewhere, if you don't have a plan or a method for achieving your goals... you're doomed to failure! If you don't have a plan, you're going to rely on your instincts, you're going to improvise... and your mind, which abhors change, will quickly dissuade you from doing so. Prepare your mind, visualize your future achievements, for example...

 

▪️ Problem of habit

If you want to stop a bad habit, you're going to have to replace it with a good one... think about it! Stop smoking or stop eating sweets... OK, but what are you going to replace the mechanisms you've ingrained in yourself for so long?  

And be patient! Some studies say it takes 21 days to establish a new routine... but it often takes much longer. So don't get discouraged too quickly!

 

▪️ Formulation problem

You can have two different formulations: the quest to achieve a goal (positive vision) or the need to stop a habit or situation (negative or anxiety-provoking vision). The latter is often more difficult to achieve. (According to a study by Swedish researchers in the American scientific journal PLOSOne, December 2020).

 

These are some of the obstacles to watch out for, some of the reasons why we fail. Now let's look at some tips for success.

The 5 secrets to keeping your resolutions

How can you be part of the 8% who never give up?

 

1. Step by step

Set yourself one goal at a time! Quitting smoking, getting back into port, getting back into chess and finishing all those overdue books... Too many resolutions at once. Focus on just one to begin with. And once you've succeeded, you'll be ready for the next challenge.

 

2. Be realistic

There's no point in aiming for the tennis or soccer championships next month. And don't think you're going to lose those kilos as soon as you start your diet... You need to be realistic and set goals that are adapted to your situation and your mental and physical condition. You're unique: your goal has to be tailored to your shoulders.

Listen to your own needs and abilities, and don't compare yourself to others. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses... (You can ask a coach for help).

 

3. Reward yourself

Treat yourself to something for every victory, for every successful step! Rewarding yourself will encourage you to keep going and move on to the next resolutions. You'll be educating your mind to look for future rewards, making it your best support in your transformation, rather than a source of blockage. Visualize or imagine the next gifts for the next steps... It can only motivate you!

 

4. Talk about it 

Share your goals with friends, colleagues and family! They'll either encourage you or remind you of your goals. Either way, it's support that can be effective: the pressure of others' gaze works!

Better still, perhaps you could have some resolution partners? People, friends, who will accompany you along the way, because they share the same goals. It's a great way to keep your resolutions when you feel less alone in the effort.

Encourage and motivate each other, and you'll give yourselves the means to succeed side by side.

 

5. No one is perfect

Yes, sometimes you'll fail: it's raining and you're not going for a run that morning... You're at a friend's house and you've had one too many chocolates or you've charged your neighbor a cigarette... It happens!

Nobody's perfect, okay? There's no need to drop everything just because of a few deviations. Don't be so quick to give up! Everyone has the right to make mistakes: give yourself the right to fall, but get up every time. You'll sometimes cheat on your resolutions, so make them the exception, not the rule, OK?

 

Note: making a visualization chart will help. Write your goals on it (you can also draw them or stick pictures on them... whatever). You can even write dates or tick boxes when you've completed a goal. Be creative. Make it easy to see: put it up in the kitchen, bathroom or on your computer.

 

If that doesn't get you past January 12, I'll eat my hat...

 

What's on your mind? Don't hesitate to send us your wishes, projects and goals for the coming New Year. We're curious! And don't forget to let us know if any of our tips have helped you - it's always a pleasure...

The festive season is upon us, and I'd like to wish you all the very best for this time of celebration with family and friends. May the end of the year be kind to you and may next year bring you plenty of joy and strength to achieve your goals, sporting or otherwise.

The entire SPART team joins me in wishing you a very happy holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you again in January for new adventures.

Edmond Kean

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