Right about now is when folks who set New Year’s resolutions tend to start giving up on them. It’s so common, in fact, that January 19th has become known as “Quitter’s Day.”
Now, you all know how I feel about New Year’s resolutions. However, if you set yours and you’re beginning to feel your enthusiasm flagging, don’t let it!
With a few simple mindset shifts, you can find a fresh burst of energy to keep going. After all, “they” say it takes at least 21 days to make a habit. Don’t quit on day 19! Keep reading to learn my favorite tricks to stay motivated.
“Now, hold on a second Joanne, didn’t you just tell me not to give up?” Yes, yes I did. However, there’s a difference between giving up and seeking out failure. Let me explain.
A lot of folks are afraid to start (or continue) a new health or fitness journey because they’re afraid of failing. They don’t want to commit to something like going to the gym five times per week because what if—heaven forbid—they can’t do it absolutely perfectly every single week of every single month of this new year?
What if, instead of looking at places where you performed at slightly less-than-ideal standards as “failures,” you looked at them as “lessons?”
What if, instead of saying, “I failed my gym routine this week. Why bother trying for next week?” you said, “I learned that going to the gym five days per week isn’t feasible with my schedule. Next week, I’ll scale back a bit and aim for three.”
Every single “failure” is really a lesson in disguise. Learn it, adapt your behavior, and try again. This mindset shift not only puts a positive spin on your thoughts, it also makes you eager to learn the next lesson instead of dreading the next failure.
Open Your Gifts
Another key reason folks give up on their resolutions is they’ve chosen ones that don’t align with their natural gifts and abilities.
For example, if you’re not an extrovert, setting a goal to go to group fitness classes at your local gym (virtual or otherwise) is likely not going to be the best intention for you. (Unless, of course, getting out of your comfort zone is one of your resolutions.)
Take at least five minutes and write down various qualities you know you possess. If you have trouble, ask a trusted friend or family member to help describe you. For example, are you disciplined? Creative? Organized?
Once you’ve got a solid list, figure out ways to apply those gifts to your health and fitness goals.
If you’re disciplined, create a fairly rigid training schedule to maximize your progress. If you’re creative, experiment with new or complex recipes in the kitchen. If you’re organized, consider tackling designing your own home gym.
You’re infinitely more likely to stick with goals and habits that align with your natural traits rather than trying to force yourself into situations that aren’t ideal for you.
Fall in Love
Once you’ve embraced the lessons your health and fitness journey will teach you and aligned your goals with your natural gifts, it’s time to fall in love with the process.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be 100% happy following your new routines 100% of the time. It doesn’t mean you’ll constantly be jumping out of bed filled with all the energy of a child on Christmas morning, ready to crush your workout.
It means the key part of sticking with your new habits is that you actively enjoy doing them.
The emotional intensity of enjoying your habits must burn bright enough to protect you from doubt, uncertainty, and criticism. Only deep desire and passion for what you’re doing generates that kind of internal heat.
Hopefully, because you’ve aligned your goals with your personal values and characteristics, this falls into place fairly naturally.
Now, my intention here isn’t to overwhelm you or make you feel like if you’re not completely passionate about every single thing you’re doing, it’s not going to work. There will absolutely be days where you cringe at the thought of eating a healthful meal or putting on your workout clothes. That’s normal. (Even personal trainers have days like that!)
My intention is to say that you’re more likely to follow through on your routine when you find pleasure in doing so. This is especially true on days where your energy does flag or your enthusiasm does wane.
Remembering how much you love how you feel when you make a healthful choice is key to making that choice a reality.
Now, Go Crush Your Goals!
Practice implementing these mindset shifts in your daily life. Write them on post-it notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror, set alarms on your phone, or stick these ideas on your refrigerator.
However you need to reinforce these shifts within yourself, try it out before calling it quits on your resolutions.