The Waning Resolution vs. Adherence to Your Goal
Here we are in mid-January. Articles all over the internet are citing the statistic that roughly 80% of individuals with fitness-related resolutions fall off the resolution wagon by February. Interested in how this affects my social network of predominantly urban professionals in their 30s and 40s (many of whom are athletes and/or fitness professionals), I polled my Instagram followers on how their fitness-related New Year's resolutions are faring. Results: 43% admitted to drop-off.
There are so many reasons that fitness-related resolutions fail. Maybe you realized that it's actually still cold and dark and your local Starbucks isn't open when you trek out to the gym at 5:30am. Maybe you realized that January is up there with August and December as one of the toughest months to avoid alcohol. Maybe you're eager to binge-watch every Netflix Original to avoid hearing the spoilers from your friends. Maybe you caught a cold or flu that's had you down for a few days. Maybe a new project at work requires your early mornings and late nights. Maybe your kids have been home from school and need to be fed, bathed, supervised, and entertained. Life happens. But just because you missed a day, two days, a week, or all 15 days of 2019 thus far doesn't mean that your resolution is dead until 2020.
If you are committed to your goal of becoming You 2.0, you can reengage in that commitment right now. Don't let a waning resolution take down your goal. That resolution you scheduled for go-time on January 1 is only the first draft of a plan - it's feedback from You 1.0 that you care about experiencing something different, whether it's an ongoing lifestyle change or a specific achievement. Maybe your plan needs tweaking to accommodate what's happening in your life right now. I brushed the dust off some old advice for you:
Be Reasonable. Take a minute to consider what you have in mind for You 2.0. Is it really You 2.0 or someone else? My parents tell me I can do anything, too. But I'm not your mom. Be realistic.
Make a Plan. Dig into those details and pay attention to your calendar. Forcing yourself to build your plan into your calendar will force you to keep your plan reasonable and workable in your life. Going to a wedding and know you absolutely must try the cake? Want to enjoy unlimited wings and beer while watching the Superbowl? Do those things. Just plan around them so they'll be treats instead of cheats. Phone alarms and calendar entries are great tools to increase your adherence, if for no other reason than that you'll have to make a conscious decision to break from your plan rather than merely realizing at the end of a day that you forgot about it.
Be Flexible. As I said, life happens. Give yourself options. Plan to pack your lunch and snacks, but have a go-to order at a nearby restaurant and snacks in your work space that fit into your plan. Schedule yourself for a workout class, but keep a solo workout plan somewhere in your phone (or download a fitness app) to give yourself a backup option.
Make It Social. Communicate your goals and plans to family and friends so they can support and encourage you. Find the people that want to spend a Sunday evening grocery shopping and cooking the week's meals together. Plan early morning gym and coffee dates. Create a workout BINGO competition with some co-workers. Take initiative on social planning to plan a group workout before a night out together or to find a restaurant with good options on the menu that fit into your plan. Tell your text-happy friends that you are "unplugging" at 9pm so you can prepare for the next day and be tucked into your bed by 10pm.
They (psychologists) say that it takes 66 days of daily action to form a habit. They (the proverbial "they") say that it takes 4 weeks to observe change in yourself. Be patient and keep going. Check in with yourself in a few weeks and then let's revisit this resolution sitch in March. Until then, feel free to reach out with any questions or if you need some ideas or support. See you at the gym —