Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Stat 1: 70% of New Year's Resolutions revolve around weight loss and fitness.
Stat 2: 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail by mid-Feb.
Having seen from Part 1 that we all love a fresh start, all want to be healthier, all have the best intentions and all feel super-motivated in January, why is it that we just can't make our healthy New Year's Resolutions stick?
Let me ask you this; How often do you forget to brush your teeth before bed? Ok, you could say that's an unfair question because you REALLY HAVE TO do that. But you don't. You don't HAVE TO brush your teeth. If you don't you'll probably suffer from a related health issue. Brushing your teeth is a preventative measure and you've done it daily, for ever.
What's the difference with exercise? Arguably, the health issues you're trying to prevent by exercising are equal or greater to those you're trying to prevent by brushing your teeth (not opening a debate here, just making a point...) Is it time (it only take 2 minutes to brush your teeth)? No. You'd do it, even if it took 10 minutes. So what's the difference between exercising and brushing your teeth?
Brushing your teeth is a habit.
Brushing your teeth is something you had done for you when you were too young, something you had to do when you were old enough, something you were told off for if you didn't do, something that was so habitual with daily life that you just did it. And still do.
Turning daily exercise into a habit and making it part of your lifestyle is your ultimate aim.
So the question we're really asking is "why can't I turn exercise into a habit?"
Studies quote that creating a habit takes anywhere from a few weeks to a year, although the average is 66 days. That's not really that long an investment if it creates a habit that will last a lifetime and pay huge dividends. So here's my top reasons why people don't stick to their New Year's Resolutions thus fail to create a healthy habit:
Set a bar too high and you will fail to reach it. Fail and you'll feel rubbish. It may even be harder to motivate yourself to get back up and try again than it was before.
Lack of early results
You want to lose weight. You've stayed off the booze and chocolate for two weeks, sweated it out in front of the TV every day and you're no slimmer. "This is rubbish, what a waste of time". "I give up."
Lack of accountability
You haven't made yourself accountable to anyone. You've done this on your own. There's no one to check in with, no one to motivate you when you're down and no one to say well done when you're smashing it.
It's hard and not fun
Exercise can be tough. You're not in shape, not fit. You're struggling to do the exercises. They make you feel tired and sore. You're not very good at it and you certainly don't enjoy it.
Easy to make excuses
"I haven't got the time right now", "I've got too much going on at home", "I'm too tired to exercise", "I can't afford it", "I've got this niggling injury".... etc etc...
Poor planning, strategy and goal setting
You haven't set small, short term goals for quick wins (see point 1). You haven't put a strategy in place with milestones for achievements. You haven't written a schedule for this week with what exercise you're doing each day.
So, this post is a rather negative one. It's about establishing why New Year's Resolutions fail. It's important to acknowledge these reasons before moving on to the good stuff.. how we can make them work, stick and become HABITS.
Remember, don't forget to brush your teeth tonight. That's right, you didn't need reminding. Point made.
Part 3; "Making them stick" will be posted tomorrow.