Make 2016 The Year You Finally Committed

January 5, 2016

New Year’s resolutions suck right? Every year, another bout of self-commitment to finally do that thing you’ve been committed to doing so many times before. Maybe this year is different, maybe you are about to embark on something entirely new. But how many times have you found yourself in month two (or day two in some cases) of your grand plan to only find it becoming easier and easier to slip back into a familiar routine, pushing your resolution further and further towards 2017’s ultimate hit list.

What’s the point?

The point is that the magic you see for yourself in the future doesn’t begin in the future. All the things you want actually starts with what you do today.

The problem with new year resolutions is that it is often powered by pressure. You’ve got your goal but are you ready to commit to it? The first month-and-a-half you’ve got unbreakable commitment, but have you really considered the work you need to do to actually make your resolution work? Suddenly you realise change actually requires a degree of hard work and will-power, the pressure to keep at it wanes and life goes on (without any real step towards that amazing future life).

What if we said that all it takes is a little planning, some support and self-belief to never have to face another failed new year resolution ever again?

Here is our 4 steps to making your New Year’s Resolution actually stick:

1. Ask yourself (like really ask): ‘Am I really ready for change?’

If you are not actually prepared for change, you are only setting yourself up for failure. Creating change is a process and every process goes through steps or stages. This doesn’t mean that step one has to be straight in the deep end. It could mean that your first step is to spend January 2016 researching everything you need to make your change happen. It might  mean gathering support network of people who can help you through, because you know that there will be a point you will think it is easier to quit. Are you ready to be serious about what you want to achieve?

2. Know the process: 

By understanding how change works, you make the falls less hard and the ability to bounce back so much more easier. Two researchers named Prochaska and DiClemente developed a way of describing this process called the Stages of Change Model. This model outlines 5 steps that we all go through to achieve change:

Stages of ChangePre-contemplation: In this stage, you’ve either literally never thought about needing to change a behaviour/situation or never thought about it seriously. In this stage if someone had mentioned the concept of making a particular change, you might react negatively without really thinking about it. You have the idea but no serious consideration to act on it.

Contemplation: This is where you actively think about the need to change, it is when you go from an idea of ‘exercise is important’ to a belief of ‘I need to exercise’. This is the stage people often get stuck in. You know you want it, you know it is going to really make a life of difference but taking that next step can be really difficult.

Determination: Here is where our New Year’s Resolution kicks in, you prepare yourself mentally and often physically for action. The smoker may throw out the cigarettes. The couch potato may join a gym. We pick quit days. We schedule start days. This is it – it is happening.

Action: And then we start. We wake up and take a power walk. Or go to the gym. Or stop smoking.

Maintenance: This is continuing. Continuing the gym sessions, continuing from making a day without a cigarette, continuing to achieve that goal. Often we think starting is the hardest part, but often we don’t prepare ourselves for the long-haul. Maintenance is habit and if you are making a big change, this new habit needs to become so ingrained into your life that not doing it feels strange.

And let’s add one more for good measure.

*Relapse: Just because we are all human and life happens. If you feel crappy, it is harder to commit to your exercise program and easier to find comfort in old habits. Relapse isn’t failure and accepting that as a part of the process will help you to bounce back. You missed a class, you ate that cake, you smoked that cigarette – who cares. What matters is tomorrow,  you get back into action and continue on.

3. Get yourself some like-minded champions:

As much as we don’t like to admit it, breaking a promise to ourselves is a lot easier then breaking a promise to someone else. Telling other people what you are trying to achieve (and sometimes these people are outside our normal network) will help you through adversity and back into action. Especially if those people are already doing what you are working towards. Often if you stick within your normal network, you might find that group do the very thing you are trying to change. This doesn’t mean you need to cut all ties and denounce anyone who isn’t with you. Branch out, see a professional or join a group – expand your network. Future you will thank you for it.

4. Believe you can do it:

Life doesn’t begin in the future, every moment is your moment to shine. Believe you’ve got what it takes, because the only thing that is standing between you and successful change is what you decide to do.

Bodyfit NT specialises in chronic condition prevention, exercise therapy, mobility and athlete development. Our team is trained getting clients back on track with lifestyle and behaviour change support. Click here to get in touch or find out more about our Exercise Physiology, Physiotherapy and Strength and Conditioning services.