Every year as the calendar advances to the next year, our celebrations come to an end and we partake into the serious business of making a New Year’s resolution. These resolutions are usually a checklist of the things we perceive as being wrong in our lives. For example, if you are overweight, you will almost always choose weight loss as one of your resolutions. If you are a smoker, maybe you will quit smoking for your resolution. Once you decide on your resolution or resolutions, you begin a journey that will often end in complete failure. According to www.statisticbrain.com only 8% of people are able to turn their resolutions into real life changes. This number is much lower than I had expected but not surprising.
Most people do experience good initial success with their resolutions. In fact, 75% of people are still holding strong with their resolution after the first week while we drop down to 46% after the first 6 months. Why do these resolutions fail? I think a good reason for the high failure rate is the fact that a lot of people begin with an expectation to fail. It may not be consciously evident, but the seed of failure is already firmly planted. There are success stories but in those cases there is something different about the approach. They do not begin the process using the same road-map that the other 92% are using.
Real change is very possible and you do not need a New Year’s resolution to make it happen. What you do need is a legitimate desire to make a change in your life and a plan to accomplish just that. There are so many different things you can change and they all fit in the same general formula but for the remainder of this blog I am going to use losing weight as my example.
So you want to take off a few pounds or maybe you have a few hundred you want to lose. Either way the first step is to come up with a plan. Think of the process like it is a business, in this case your business is going to be to lose weight. Later, your successful weight loss business will change as it changes into a maintaining your new healthy lifestyle business.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, one of the first things you do for your weight loss business is to create a business plan. You need a plan that covers everything from dietary planning and exercise to metrics and pitfall planning. You absolutely want to have your plan in place before you even begin and you have to be committed to follow it through. There should be contingencies for the times when things go wrong. Expect to falter from time to time and by having a process in place to recover from a stumble you will push through weight loss plateaus and minor weight loss set-backs such as Thanksgiving. So many people trying to lose weight without plans will often give up when they hit a snag. With a strong plan, a pitfall does not have to be a life change ending event. You can always get back on the horse no matter how bad the fall was.
I will not lie and say that making a life change is easy because it is far from that. It takes a lifetime of hard work and commitment. The hardest part of changing to a healthy lifestyle is the first month where the bad habits are gnawing at you and tempting you to give in to their cravings. The second month is when the cravings begin to lose their power and your confidence will grow as the changes in your life become more comfortable. From there it gets easier to follow the plan through to the end and achieve your weight loss goals. However, things are about to get hard again unless you have a good exit strategy.
If you just go back to eating what you want, expect to undo what you have achieved. It is a life change that you made and it takes a lifetime of commitment. You can never go back to the way it was. You need to find your new healthy equilibrium and embrace it as you move forward in life. You will still have moments of weakness and you should have a good maintenance plan in place to keep yourself from falling into the traps that can send you off of your new life.
Bringing us back to New Year’s resolutions, I am not saying not to make them. I am just saying not to use them as a crutch. If you want to make a life change then do so with real desire and a good plan. I save my New Year’s resolutions for things not on the level of a real life change. Don’t take New Year’s seriously and have some fun with your resolutions. I may very well resolve to get a cat so I can flood the Internet with more cat pictures.Pin It