Ringing 2019 with a promise to go on a diet, join the gym or give up drinking alcohol is great, but many of us get demoralised when we’ve broken our resolutions a few days after we’ve made them.
If this is you, do not despair. There are many reasons it’s actually ok to make and then break your New Year’s resolutions.
A New Year’s resolution often means depriving yourself, which makes us miserable. Swearing off junk food or alcohol forever is a very big step to make and you’re not likely to see it through. But top British psychologist Emma Kenny insists you can turn a resolution like this on its head:
“Rather than opting to form a new habit people focus on how they can kick a bad one,” she tells Lumity Life magazine. “Look at taking up rather than giving up. Giving up feels like sacrifice and when we start using the language of sacrifice we start getting worried.
“You don’t have to give anything up. You can do something new, you can try something good, you can do something exciting. You can add things to your life as opposed to taking fun stuff away.”
Did you know that there’s something called ‘the fresh start effect’?
The phenomenon suggests you’re more likely to get motivated and achieve goals that are set at the start of a new period.
And, the good news is that doesn’t have to be on January 1st. If you find your passionate resolution has been put to the wayside come March then don’t be disheartened, be excited that you can have another fresh start when you try again next week, next month or at the start of a new school term.
Breaking a big fat resolution can make you step back and reassess it. You’ll probably realise that it was too big of a challenge to start with.
If you vowed to cut down on sugar rather than cut it out you might still be sticking to it.
“My aim last year was to make time to go for a walk once a month with the kids and go out for dinner afterwards,” says Emma. “I can measure this and I can make sure I maintain it because it’s small enough to do.
“It’s just one thing and if I get good enough at sticking to it, it’ll soon become a habit and not a goal. Then I can get a new goal and focus on that.”
If you break your resolution you’ll likely have an initial feeling of guilt and disappointment. But once you are over that you’ll probably feel relieved.
Maintaining a hefty resolution can be exhausting, but that’s not to say you should give up entirely.
“Letting go of anything eventually makes us feel better,” says Emma. “The thing about giving up and resolutions is that you get to a critical phase and that phase is the day you give up. Then people go, ‘sod it, I’ve broken it I may as well eat what I want.’ Instead see it as a chance to reform, rephrase, recalibrate and move on to something else. Always look for a substitute.”
Even if you’ve broken your resolution you might still be telling people you’re keeping it up. But cheating on yourself will only make you feel guilty.
“Having the right mindset is key,” explains Emma. “If people think they’ve cheated they cheat more.
“Feeling guilty doesn’t help you live a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about choices, you decide what you eat and whether you exercise or not, don’t punish yourself for your choices.
“Make a little pact with yourself to make a better choice straight away and get back to it.”
Of course, there’s one resolution that you shouldn’t break and that’s remembering to take your 3 morning Lumity supplements and your 3 night ones right before you go to bed.
If you enjoyed this article then you might also like to read about how dry January could help your heart health. Or, try these simple expert tips for staying fit without splashing out on that expensive gym membership.