Keeping resolutions – time to test your willpower
Did you make a New Year Resolution this year? If so, brace yourself as this weekend marks half way through January and is, according to the statisticians, the most likely time you will break it.
So hold fast, stick to your guns and remember the reasons you made that resolution in the first place! Think of how good you will feel if you succeed, did you set yourself a reward for making it to the end of the first month?
If I had made any resolutions myself, I would plan to have a reward at the end of each week – as let’s face it January is famous for being the most dismal month of the year, and is the hardest month to get through for many of us.
Some pointers on how to avoid straying from your goals:
- Review your resolution and make sure it’s realistic
- Are you doing it for the right reasons?
- Be aware of your weakest points and prepare for them.
- Try to partner up with someone to encourage each other through it
- Have a great reward lined up if you achieve your goal – something that’s worth the pain
- Flex your willpower! According to the scientists, “it can be exercised and strengthened like a muscle” wellbeing.
I discovered a survey showing that, “Of those surveyed, 32% pointed out that their resolutions are usually broken by the end of January, while only 10% said they never break one.” The Guardian
Here are 4 tricks to flex your willpower, Kelly McGonigal’s sure-fire ways to boost willpower:
Slowing the breath activates the pre-frontal cortex and increases heart rate variability, which helps shift the body and brain from a state of stress to self-control mode.
Breath focus reduces cravings and teaches the mind how to handle both inner distractions (cravings, worries and desires) and outer temptations (sounds, sights and smells).
Sleep deprivation impairs how the body and brain use glucose and you’ll soon crave sweets or caffeine. If you can’t have eight hours a night, research shows that a single good night’s sleep restores brain function to an optimal level.
Australian researchers discovered exercise is the willpower “wonder drug”. In one experiment, even just 15 minutes of exercise a day was enough to reduce smoking, drinking, junk food consumption and spending.
Source: Maximum Willpower
Realistically it’s probably the worst time to try and make any big changes to your routine and habits. It’s cold, everyone is fighting illness, and trying to recover from the overspending and indulgences at Christmas, so let’s not be too harsh on ourselves.
I recently heard the best approach to this whole resolution thing which I love,
“I’m not doing a diet, they don’t work, I’m making a lifestyle change!”
I’m all for lifestyle changes and know I need to make a few myself, but I’ll think about it January and then perhaps schedule it in for a mid Feb start…maybe just maybe then I’ll be able to stick to it a bit better.
Image – thanks to Freepik