15 Acres of Adventure in the Heart of Leicester

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

8 Top Tips To help Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Every New Year’s Eve I ask the question “Do you have a new year’s resolution?” And I’m often met with a mix of grumbles, sometimes the odd bit of sarcasm and then the occasional enthusiastic announcement of a change someone is making in their life. It is common knowledge that these are rarely kept to, and have often fizzled out of memory by February. However, there are exceptions to the rule! And I am living proof!

Some years have been more successful than others but I have found I’ve been able to make real changes in my life through New Year’s Resolutions. I like to think of them as a time to refocus my life and start working on something new that I really want to achieve. Past resolutions have included gaining new skills, qualifications and then the hardest one was having a go a stand up comedy on front of a crowd of strangers.

So here are my top 8 tips to making that New Year’s Resolution stick.

#1 Make sure it’s something you really want

I think many people make up a resolution because they think it’s something they should do. Classic ones include giving up chocolate or alcohol, not saying they aren’t perfectly good resolutions but if you don’t really want to do it you won’t. Generally all my resolutions have been something in the back of my mind that I just haven’t had the time to carry out. The change into the New Year allows me to think about how I can change my habits to allow time for a new project.

#2 Set goals

Having something to aim for is a great way to keep to your New Year’s Resolution. It’ll keep you focused and on track. Then when you’ve hit your goals you’ll get that feeling of satisfaction and be ready to set the next goal. When I wanted to change my eating habits I used a simple goal – ‘cook from a recipe book at least once a week’. When I wanted to try stand-up comedy I set myself a goal to take part in an open mic night once a month and to have started by February, (giving myself some time to prepare). The goals were simple and they were realistic. There is no point in setting your sights too high, think about what you can really achieve. If you smash it then great - move your sights a bit higher.

If you’re trying to quit smoking you could try setting your goal to continually reduce the amount of nicotine you take. If you’re trying to get fit you could have a goal at how far you want to be able to run. Then make sure you give yourself a deadline.

#3 Create a chain

This is all about changing your mind set and your lifestyle, if you can pull this off you may end up seamlessly making a big change in your life. When I want to increase my exercise and fitness I keep planning the next workout. For example, I go for a swim, then straight away afterwards I pick up my diary and plan the next time I'm going swimming, and then after the next swim I plan the next and so on. This is how I went about gaining my rock climbing qualifications, every week I’d go out rock climbing, and then immediately after I would be organising the next rock climbing trip. Keep to this and soon you’ll have changed your mentality and lifestyle. What you’re doing here is avoiding a situation where you go to the gym, congratulate yourself on making that first step, and then two weeks later think to yourself “I was meant to keep going to that”. Keep looking at the next action.

#4 Find a partner
While I was at university one of the biggest motivators for me was having someone to go running with. I remember plenty of times when my running partner would be ready to go and I couldn’t be bothered, but there was no way I was going to let him go without me. And then the same worked the other way around. Having that person to spur you on and also work with you will make the difference, particularly if you are both working to the same goals.

#5 Invest some money

This is a bit of a funny one, I think it works better for some people than others. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m quite careful with my money. So if I’ve spent some money on something I’m going to make dam sure that money isn’t wasted. Therefore if I’ve paid for gym membership I’m going to the gym (even if it’s the crack of dawn or quarter to midnight). And likewise if I’ve just invested in some expensive running shoes I’m going running. This doesn’t just have to be for fitness, you might pay for a new training course to learn a new language or a new skill.

#6 Set up reminders

This goes a little bit hand in hand with setting up a chain. One New Year’s Resolution I really struggle to keep is to read more. I never find the time and also I forget to make the time. But setting up reminders might just help to keep your mind focused on what you want to do. This could be a poster on the wall, reminders on your phone or entries in your diary. Anything that just keeps your New Year’s Resolution in the front of your mind.

#7 Reward yourself

Rewards serve two purposes. They give you that positive reinforcement that helps to spur you on and they also play a part in that goal you set. So if your goal was to go down two dress sizes, buy yourself a new dress. If it’s to be able to run 3 miles, treat yourself to a some new sport clothes/ kit. As long as the reward doesn’t pave the way into the bad habit you were trying to get out of. For example don’t reward yourself with a cigar because you quit smoking – that’ll just set you back to the beginning.

#8 Set up a final outcome

If there is an end goal to all this then you’ve got a purpose for  everything you’re trying to do. If it’s to get fit then maybe sign up to an event that you need to improve your fitness to compete in (goes hand in hand with #5). If it’s to learn French, book that France holiday now!

That’s it, just remember you don’t achieve anything without a little hard work and persistence. And remember it’ll be worth it in the end.

Incidentally if you are looking to improve your health and fitness why not take a look at our Outdoor Exercise Sessions click here for more information.

Good Luck

David Robinson
Corporate Development Officer
Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre