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How to make your new year’s resolutions last?

by Sahar Khan

So it’s Jan 31st. You are pretty proud that you made it 31 days not drinking any alcohol / walking every day / doing 3 strength and conditioning sessions a week. And the temptation to reward yourself by having a drink / skipping the morning walk / only doing the 1 strength session this week is all too great.

Next thing you know, it’s March 1st, your fridge is full of booze and your walking boots and new kettle bell are gathering dust in the corner.

Well that escalated quickly...

There is varying research out there debating how long it actually takes for a habit to form. Some claim it can take around 21 days and others up to a year. The truth is most people give something up because it isn’t sustainable.

If you ask any seasoned endurance athlete they will tell you “consistency is key”. And they would be absolutely right. You need to set yourself goals which are realistic to your lifestyle and therefore can be sustained continuously.

If you had planned to run 5 times a week but then only managed 4 on average. Look at why you didn’t manage 4? Was there a meeting that always ran late on a Wednesday night so that by the time you were done you had to do the kids bedtime routine and didn’t get time. And there was no other time in the week to fit it in? Maybe 4 sessions a week is what works then. Tweaking your goals or resolutions doesn’t mean you failed at them. In fact if anything, you will probably prolong them.

The temptation can also be there to completely scrap the goal if it didn’t exactly go to plan. “Ah well I missed my run on Feb 2nd so might as well wait til March now to start again”. Well you could. Or you could just accept that sometimes life gets in the way so you won’t make every run. You forget about that one and move on to the next one.

Above all be fair to yourself. Sometimes the excitement and promise of a new year at the start of January leads us to setting goals without considering day-to-day life constraints. Now that you have the level-headedness of the February, perhaps you can tweak those goals for consistency over grandiose.