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Making Better Resolutions

05 January 2018

New Year’s resolutions can be a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the beginning of a new year often provides the motivation to take stock of where we stand and what we might want to improve. On the other hand, who hasn’t reached the end of the year and thought back to their resolutions, only to find that they haven’t made the progress they’d hoped? If that sounds familiar, the good news is you’re not alone! One study found that between 40% and 60% of Americans make new year’s resolutions, but only 9% felt they were successful in achieving their resolutions! Another study found that those who did make resolutions gave up on them quickly – after six months, only 46% of resolvers had stuck to their resolution. That might not sound great, but don’t lose hope! Both studies also showed that people who explicitly made resolutions were approximately ten times more likely to attain their goals than non-resolvers who were interested in addressing the same goal – just by making an explicit resolution, you’re more likely to achieve it!

Making some small changes to the way you make your resolutions can be a game-changer when it comes to keeping them. Here are our top three tips for making better resolutions:

 

  1. Be realistic
    No good can come of making unrealistic resolutions. Have you ever heard of False Hope Syndrome? It’s a term coined by researchers to describe the disheartening cycle of trying and failing to reach the same goal over and over again, and it is characterised by ‘unrealistic expectations about the likely speed, amount, ease, and consequences’ of attempting to change one’s behaviour.
    Start small, and focus on progress, rather than a big win. If you’re a couch potato and you want to exercise more, commit to visiting the gym once a week, not five times a week. If you want to lose 10 kilos, start with losing one kilo. Researchers have found that the most important factor in predicting successful resolution-keeping is self-efficacy – believing that you can do it. That means that every small success makes the next one more likely!
     
  2. Be SMART
    Most of us have come across the idea that goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound – and this idea has stuck around for a reason: it works. Knowing the steps that go towards achieving a goal (or keeping a resolution) makes it a lot easier to actually take those steps! So instead of resolving to save enough money for a trip, find out how much that trip would cost, think about how much money you can realistically save per week, work out how many weeks it will take until you can pay for the trip, and make your resolution based on that – something like taking your own lunch to work twice a week, and saving the $20 you didn’t spend on lunch for your trip. 
     
  3. Be kind to yourself
    Nobody is perfect – slip-ups happen, and it’s important that you don’t beat yourself up over them. This isn’t just a platitude – studies have shown that almost all resolvers, successful and unsuccessful alike, slip up at some point. In fact, most of them slip up in their first month! The difference lies in how they respond to mistakes – the unsuccessful resolvers give up completely after a blunder, while the successful resolvers acknowledge the slip-up and recommit themselves. A momentary lapse doesn’t have to lead to failure – it’s up to you and how you choose to respond to it.

All in all, if you want to make some positive changes in your life, making a resolution is a very good start! And if your resolutions include some SMART, healthy habits, Hinkler’s new products include some very helpful companions. The Anatomy of Fitness: Complete Pilates, Core and Yoga workout kits each contain everything you need to start or improve your workout habits in a way that works for you, in your own home and at your own pace, whether that means once a week or every day. Allan Borushek’s updated Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter is packed with information to help you make healthy choices, and The Healthy Kitchen cookbooks contain delicious, healthy and simple recipes that make healthy home-cooking easier than ever.

We wish you the very best of luck for a wonderful 2018!