Hands up who’s made any New Years resolutions this year. Yep, I thought so, that’s a LOT of hands. And I’m betting that most of those resolutions are centred around losing weight, getting fit or stopping something, like smoking or drinking, right?
Statistics show that 43% of people in the UK break their resolutions within the first month and by the end of March that figure has risen to a whopping 80%. In fact we are so good at giving up, that there is now an official day dedicated to our downfall – 17th January is ‘Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day’.
So, who and what can we blame for our lack of dedication and willpower?
Yep, that’s right, you and pretty much you alone are the biggest saboteur of all your best laid out plans.
I mean, think about it for a minute…
Who made you miss the gym this morning, in favour of 20 more minutes in bed?
Who made you pour that glass of wine after a crazy, stressful day at work?
And whose hand rummaged around in the biscuit tin trying to find the last chocolate hobnob (come on, we all know they’re the best biscuits!).
The main reason we turn into our own worst enemy in moments of weakness, is that we are constantly battling with a little creature inside our heads, that I like to call the ‘Give up Gremlin’.
Everybody has one. It’s that voice that tells you you’re not good enough, you can’t do it, you’re not worth it, you will fail. And until you learn to control your gremlin, to take charge of it and to basically tell it to shut up and mind its own business, you will continue to sabotage your goals.
Here at The Art of Healthy Living we believe in the phrase ‘everything in moderation’ and as staunch advocates of leading a healthy, but realistic and sustainable lifestyle, we are slowly but surely learning to put our gremlin in its place and I would like to share our tips with you so that you can do the same.
Name And Shame It!
Take some time to imagine what your gremlin looks like, what kind of personality it has, give it a name. Mine is called Sparkles and she is a mean girl; perfect in every way, looks down her nose at me, talks in a very annoying drawling accent and likes to mock me at every opportunity. By making something seem ridiculous it enables you to turn the negative into a positive. Now if I hear the doubting voice creep in I immediately visualise my gremlin and I can laugh her off. How can I let something that ridiculous tell me what to do!?
Focus On One thing At A Time
Once you’ve got your gremlin in check it’s time to think about your goals in more detail. Write them down and then break each goal into smaller, more attainable mini goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, instead of focussing on the numbers you see on the scales and becoming obsessed with hitting a certain number by a certain date, try thinking more about how you feel and the reasons as to why you want to lose weight. Keeping a journal of the progress you make is a fantastic way to boost your motivation and keep you on track. And remember, only work towards one goal at a time, otherwise you risk putting yourself under way too much pressure and that can only lead to one thing…failure.
Like giving a dog a biscuit for sitting, or a child a sticker for, well just about anything (seriously, why do kids like stickers so much?!) as humans we have an in built program to feel worth, success and purpose. By setting up your own reward system it means you are far more likely to achieve your goal because you have something far more desirable to aim for. Ideas could include buying yourself a new book, booking yourself in for a cut and colour or simply a coffee at your favourite café. It doesn’t matter what you choose, so long as you really want it and that it’s enough to motivate you into reaching the finish line.
Stop being so hard on yourself!
We need to worry less about the resolutions and more about creating positive visions and celebrating our uniqueness, so grab your gremlin where it hurts and show it who’s boss!
Becky Stafferton is a full time blogger and mum. She loves lists, having a moan, running, flapjacks and Prosecco. This post is Becky’s first published blogpost for the Huffington Post.