How to Prevent New Year’s Resolution Relapse

We are nearly two weeks into the New Year.  We have been faithful to our New Year’s resolutions for less than 4 percent of the whole year.  How are you feeling about your resolution?  Are you hyped up about the recent change?  Or are you bummed out? I watch as dieters mope across the work hallways and hang their heads as they crash from lack of sugar and crave salty chips.  We torture ourselves with high end goals but have a low end understanding of what it takes to keep them.

You probably have great intentions when it comes to persevering through this first month.  The truth is only 8 percent of us keep our resolutions.  What can you do to be a part of the winning few? I am eager to help you understand how to stay on track.

Lose the Victim:  If you feel like a victim in the race to your resolution, failing is right around the corner.  By victim, I mean the ideas and judgment that you have given your resolution; if the goal is good but your reactions to it are negative, it will be hard to keep.  I’ve overheard people dieting this week say that they are upset, hangry, and unhappy.  The self-talk, emotional responses, or judgments that we give to our goals can be defeating or encouraging, whatever we allow them to be.  If we can interpret and evaluate the situation with positive regard, we make it better.  Our mindset about our goal is important. Instead of negative statements and defeated talk, try positive reflection about the goal.

Check in with Yourself:  Know what goals you can reach and be honest with yourself.  Ask yourself, “What do I need to achieve this goal?”  Set realistic goals and challenge yourself to keep those goals by “awarding” yourself something at the end of that goal (such as a massage or an overnight trip you’ve been putting off).  An example: You resolve to work out more this New Year.  Your goal is 20 workouts a month.  Each month you reach that goal you get a massage.  We go to work to get money.  Money is the “prize”.  Work is the “goal”.

Balance: Life is about balance.  Too much or too little of anything is bad.  Make sure your resolution is a balance of ways you want to better yourself this year.

Temptation: Most New Year’s resolutions include something that is going to link to temptation.  So you have a list of foods that you can eat on that diet, but what is your plan for when tempting treats make their way into the office?  If you resolve to save money, what is your plan to resist your favorite purchases or to not spend as much time at the restaurant you love?  You need to have a plan in place to resist the temptations that are going to come along with that goal.

Remember, an important part of improving any part of our lives is an understanding of ourselves.  Don’t be discouraged if your resolution isn’t working the way you planned, just reevaluate it.  We get stoked on the social stimulation of the New Year’s resolution, but we can make improvements on ourselves at any time in our lives.

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