New Year New You


January 1st. The day we start the diet/stop smoking/join the gym/whatever. Or perhaps January 2nd, to give us a day to get over the hangover and polish off what’s left of the Christmas chocolates. Either way the tradition of making resolutions at the turn of the New Year can be dated back 4000 years ago when ancient Babylonians would pray to their Gods in the hope of receiving strength, protection and good fortune over the coming twelve months. The Romans made similar promises to their God Janus, and Medieval knights would reaffirm their chivalrous commitment to protecting their country each year. Given the seriousness that people put on their religious beliefs and the literal consequences that they believed might happen (terminal illness, death of family, failure of crops (starvation) or refusal entry to Heaven etc.), is it any wonder they stuck to their resolutions?

What resolutions come to mind amongst your friends and family? And what are the consequences if they are not stuck to? I’m hazarding a guess you’re probably not worried about going to Hell if you don’t attend Zumba twice a week for the next 6 months. The most popular resolutions according to 2011 Marist University poll found ‘losing weight’ was no. 1, followed by ‘exercising more’, ‘being more careful with money’, and ‘quitting smoking’.

Unfortunately, the psychologist Richard Wiseman of Bristol University found in a 2007 study that while 52% of people making New Year’s Resolutions are confident they can stick it out, only 12% actually do.


Strategy. Or lack of. How is it possible, that after years of overeating/smoking/overspending, you reckon you can just wake up on January 1st and suddenly have the means and willpower to change? Sorry but the human psych doesn’t work like that. It likes routine, habit, comfort; it is human nature to always ‘take the path of least resistance’ and give in (and have the fag/eat the chocolate bar etc.). A resolution is placed on the ‘to do’ list without any idea of how it is going to be done. You wouldn’t decide to move house without researching the best area to move to, getting a mortgage assessment, and finalising a sales contract first would you? You can’t; without that planning you fail.

Make your Resolutions Resolute

    • Make a resolution because it’s something that is really important to you, not just something you vaguely feel you should do. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t succeed.
    • Don’t change too many things at once. Long term habits take concentration if you are to succeed in breaking them, so focus on one goal at a time.
    • Go For Goal – success is much more likely if goals are set: losing ‘a pound a week’ rather than simply to ‘lose weight’.
    • Strength in Numbers – make your goals public and seek support from those around you, whether that be encouragement from friends and family or joining a support network.
    • Write a ‘Business Plan’ – weekly and monthly goals, potential areas for difficulties and failures, and preventative measures against these.
    • Monitor Progress – measure where you’re at against your ‘business plan’ once a week at least.
    • Reward Success – if you made a significant achievement at work you’d be pretty annoyed if you didn’t receive the deserved recognition for your hard work. Though a reward that supports your goals instead of opposes them – a massage instead of a take away pizza, in other words.
    • Expect the Unexpected – and deal with it. You might be presented with a cake on your birthday. Have a slice. Don’t eat another 4 once everyone has gone home.
    • Expect to fail – sometimes. Being 100% perfect all the time is unrealistic; you will fail if that is your goal. Be 100% perfect 80% of the time.


Happy New Year from The Fit Mum Formula!

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