Welcome to 2024.
I’m just like everyone else. We start new things at the beginning of the year because we feel renewed. So much around us is telling us to seek a fresh start, to change, to find a ‘new you’ and with the 1st day of the 1st month you can’t get a better sign that says, ‘welcome to your new year (life).’
I am not one for new year’s resolutions, I believe if you want to start something you don’t need to wait for the beginning of the year to do so. I would hazard a guess that by not starting on the 1st of January this gives you a greater chance of success; habits are hard enough to gain traction and add an extra layer of complexity (expectation) on top of that well it’s kind of building you up for failure, is it not? Or is that just the pessimist in me?
Everyone likes the feeling of the beginning of the year; after the craziness of the last weeks of December; the gluttony and excess post the 31st December it’s like our bodies tell us ‘we need a fresh start’ and get back on track. After being a little ‘loose’ over the festive season having an opportunity to tighten the reins is somewhat of a relief; research tells us humans operate best when we have boundaries.
Make it stick
I make small promises to myself occasionally, and my new year promise was to get back on the bike. After noticing the mould and cobwebs covering the bar tape, I felt a wave of guilt flush over me (and no it wasn’t just a perimenopause flush) and this guilt forced me to act. I was returning to part-time work on the 8th January and said out loud to my husband that I was going to ride to work twice a week; that’s down a hill for 20km and up a hill for 20km.
Since building into physical challenges such as running, triathlon or cycling events, I have always had in my corner an accountability partner; whether that be my husband, family member, friend, or coach I have recognised I work best when I have someone keeping me accountable.
I am pretty good at setting a task/goal and sticking to it but like any human, I have my weaknesses so when I share where I wish to be or what I want to do, I know I have someone else to answer too other than myself. Other person to keep me accountable for my excuses!
All guns a blazing
When you think about setting New Year’s resolutions which are new habits does the word ‘sustainable’ come into mind? If you are adopting for example, the habit of more exercise if you think of being sustainable you also need to think of:
There are numerous roads you can take when it comes to exercise; running, cycling, swimming, HIIT training, yoga, Pilates, boxing, rowing and the list goes on. But which form of exercise is right for you? Choose one which proves too difficult at the start, and you can develop a dislike for exercise as a whole and then completely avoid it all together. We don’t believe this should be anyone’s journey.
Start small, start somewhere, and try a variety of exercise types that you can hone in on to something you can build on. On offer at the beginning of the year, use the many studios that have trial and introductory offers to your advantage – it’s about experiencing something new at low cost that will ideally hook you in over time.
Starting exercise is to teach your body to adapt to the demands and to do this you need to progressively increase the intensity of your workout regimen, read that again…..progressively increase. If you choose to go all out, guns blazing then the likely hood of your new exercise routine being sustainable is somewhat unsustainable.
Top tips to starting a sustainable routine:
- Start. Start small.
- Build on your routine; gradually improve.
- Break new routines into chucks (small = big over time).
- Abandon your all-or-nothing mentality.
- Be consistent and patient. The result: progress
You have time, try not to get ahead of yourself; strive to find consistency. Build slowly and go even slower and marvel at the progress of the sustainable build; you will get where you need to be quicker than if you choose to take the all-out ‘guns blazing’ approach.
Remember to do things you can sustain rather than go out hard to eventually fail.
In 2024 choose not to be a statistic; follow the recommendations to a sustainable new routine in the new year that will build on a new you. Exciting, isn’t it?
By some estimates, as many as 80% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions by February with only 8% of people sticking with them for the entire year. This should come as a surprise; these figures aren’t anything new in fact they are told each year and yet we as humans still fail to listen.
Below are some of the reasons for New Year’s failures:
- Unrealistic goals (they need to align with you and your values to stick);
- Failure to keep track of progress;
- Forgetting about the resolution;
- Making too many resolutions.