Don’t wait until the new year to make resolutions.

You should start right now.

One of the most common questions you might receive when coming back to work after the Christmas break, is “Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?”.

Personally, I have never really been a fan of setting New Year’s resolutions. I see people punish themselves for a month (or more if they’re lucky) because they told themselves they would change this year, but it rarely works out.

In fact, only 9% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolution. A rather dismal success rate.

I understand why it feels like a good time and a good idea for people to take this opportunity to change their lifestyle or behaviour. But using January 1st as a reason, isn’t good enough.

The most common New Year’s resolutions:

  • Eat healthier
  • Exercise more
  • Quit smoking
  • Make better financial decisions (i.e. save money)
  • Read more
  • Learn a new skill
  • Spend more time with family

There is nothing that the changing of the year will do in order to help you achieve these goals. You can begin progress of any of these tasks by making lots of small but incredibly importantly decisions. Every day.

How bad do you really want it?

An incredibly important question to ask yourself. If you really want to see change, you must commit to it with an unrelenting discipline that withstands peer pressure and temptation.

If you hate starting over so much, stop giving up

Looking at the list above, people clearly have a version of themselves which they want to become, but if you can’t hold off on ordering that burger and chips, or convincing yourself that you’re just too tired to go to the gym, you really don’t want it enough.

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

Too Fast, Too Furious

Lifestyle change is about adapting your behaviour.

In addition to self-discipline, achieving such goals over the period of at least a year, comes down to smart goal setting. Let’s say your dream is to be much fitter and healthier. Don’t convince yourself that anything less than 5 days a week at the gym is a failure. You’re simply going to burn out and give up.

While some may argue that going all in is the best approach, I think this depends wholly on your goal.

If your goal is to give up smoking, then perhaps this might work for you (my Dad was able to do this after many years of smoking). But for others, slow change over time is more effective. Going from smoking 20 cigarettes a day, to 15, to 10, to 5, to 2, to 1, to 0. Find what works for you. There is no single solution for everybody.

I can’t stress enough that whichever path you choose, discipline is always required.

“A girl running at the bottom of a rock hill on a warm winter day” by Kyle Kranz on Unsplash

No excuses

Don’t make excuses that you can’t be healthy because your co-workers keep bringing in cake to celebrate birthdays and events.

Don’t make excuses that you can’t go for a run because it’s too cold or windy.

Don’t make make excuses that you can’t afford to save money if you’re still buying high end clothing and partying every weekend.

Don’t make excuses that you haven’t spoken to friends or family in so long when there’s nothing to stop you picking up the phone and calling them.

So what are you waiting for? Start changing your life today!