It’s the month of New Year’s resolutions — Veganuary, Dry January, New Year, new me — but by the third week of January they’re officially over for most of us. Now we’re on the 3,476th day of January, it’s clear we’re the same flawed humans that we were in December, November, October, and September. It’s time to call bullshit on pretending otherwise.
While New Year’s Resolutions and the whole industry built around them is questionable, making changes to feel happier and healthier isn’t – and there’s some science to show that doing it in January is up to 40% more effective than doing it at any other time.
From getting more sleep, to eating better, meeting with your mates more or even * plug incoming* taking on a challenge for CALM, small changes can help you to feel good. If you’ve got something to aim for in 2020, here’s some ways to make it happen.
Be specific with your goal
NYRs are often so vague it’s impossible to pinpoint how or where to start with them. Common resolutions are to get fit, save money, or drink more water. And while they’re commendable aims, the chances of you following through are, let’s face it, slim. By setting specific goals – like running once a week or eating one actual vegetable a day – you’re more likely to be able to carry them through into everyday life when your new year resolve is waning (like 4 hours into that New Year’s Day hangover perhaps…)
Get someone else involved
Getting someone else involved with your New Year’s goals could be what you need to hang on in there when things get tough. Whether that’s telling someone what you plan to do, or taking on challenge or activity with a mate, having someone else to chat to about your experience, or just moan about it when you want to pack in the whole shebang, is a great way to help you incorporate new habits.
Write it down
Not ready to share? Just writing them down means you are less likely to pack them in. The British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% of people who wrote down a plan of when and where to exercise met their goals. So there you have it, science, and an excuse to get some new stationary…
Get ready to fail
Things aren’t always going to go to plan. Whether it’s bailing on leg day to head to the pub with your mates on the bleakest Monday of the year, or forgetting to ask for a vegan, sugar-free, caffeine-free coffee before work, whatever your goal, there’ll be times when it feels like you’re not on track or that you’ve failed. The trick is to account for those blips.
In fact, there’s some proof to show that going off piste with your resolutions can actually help strengthen your resolve. (Read: excuse to veg out on the sofa and ignore all concepts of time, let alone resolutions).
Sign up to something
It wouldn’t be a CALM article without us telling you to get involved. But seriously, committing to an event, weekly meetup, or activity can help to make your goal more concrete.
There’s loads of CALM ways to give your resolution a tangible target – and you’ll be helping to prevent suicide too. Whether it’s taking on a run, cycle or swim, volunteering, or joining our community of artists – supporting CALM is a resolution worth sticking to!
Not convinced? Don’t take it from us – listen to these CALM legends:
Poorna Bell: “Setting goals is important because it gives you purpose and focus, and something to work towards. I tend to start by writing them down, but I also tell other people, eg close friends and family as it gives me some sense of accountability. I don’t keep track because I’m just not quite that organised, and it depends on the goal, but thinking about it, maybe I should as learning Italian has dropped down a crack….”
CALM Coach Ollie: “Having a clear end point to work to will add purpose to what you are doing. If you have signed up to a race or have something to work towards, then you are more likely to make your change a habit. While it may seem ‘short term’, the reality is you will create habits that will instil long term change.”
Shareefa J: “Including others in your goals can be just the motivation you need to keep you going! I like to set myself goals that can be done alone or with a friend- for example I’m training for the London Marathon I often run alone but really love joining in on weekly run clubs.”
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