Summer is over already (how did that happen?) and suddenly nights in front of the TV sound more appealing than workout sessions in the cold. This time of year sees even the most dedicated New Year’s resolutions starting to fall away. Whether it was resolving to walk 10,000 steps a day, get back in the gym or just eat healthier – you’re not alone in the annual cycle of making promises to yourself and then feeling guilty when they don’t magically stick. But not to fear, here’s five reasons why your change perhaps hasn’t become the reality you dreamt up at the start of 2017 (and most importantly, how you can still make it happen!)
- You have no trigger in place
The easiest way to form a habit is to tie it to a habit you’ve already mastered – and the two don’t even need to be related. Renowned Stanford behavioural psychologist BJ Fogg and expert in habit formation often talks about the importance of having a trigger to develop a habit. This could be as simple as doing your 20 push-ups right after you brush your teeth in the evening, or maybe heading out for a jog as soon as you get home each day. If you’re struggling to find a good trigger, set up a regular alarm on your phone with a motivational message to jump start you into action.
- You’re doing it solo
Getting a buddy on board is a sure-fire way to help you stick to a habit. A research study from Indiana University found that people who worked out with a partner had higher attendance rates and much lower dropout rates. Find a friend with similar health goals and make a pact to get healthier together.
- You’re going in without a plan of attack
There’s an old saying that goes “failing to plan is planning to fail”, this is especially true in developing healthy habits. You should make everything as easy as possible for you (and especially future you) to stick to your new habit. This might be laying out your exercise gear before you go to bed if you want to exercise the next morning, or pre-preparing some healthy lunches for the week on your Sunday.
- You can’t see all your amazing progress
It’s a numbers game, and seeing how much more frequently you are committing to your new habit can be the absolute game changer. There’s nothing like feeling empowered from seeing your personal best improve, whether it’s how far you’re running each week or how well you stick to your medication schedule. The best part? You don’t even have to get geeky about logging and keeping on top of your results. Leave that to the world of smartphone apps that will track your progress without you having to do any extra work.
- You haven’t rewarded yourself!
It’s time to get excited about the little wins and celebrate! If you’ve hit your goal for the week don’t be afraid to treat yourself, although don’t undo all the hard work! Set aside something you’ve wanted to buy or do and indulge when you stick to your habits. This serves a dual purpose of motivating you through the hard times and reinforcing the benefits of the habit psychologically when you achieve your goals.