Did you kick off the new year full of motivation and good intentions? Did you promise to hit the gym five days a week? Swear off junk food for good? Tell yourself you’d start meditating on the daily? Perhaps you committed to your resolutions with a gusto you’ve never had before and are still staying the course. Maybe you’re like 64 per cent of people and threw in the towel after one month. Or, maybe, like the rest of us, you’ve found your resolutions slipping as the cold weather makes its presence known and we head towards the middle of the year.
The good news is you’re not alone. It’s tough to stick to a goal at the best of times, but the middle of the year can make it a whole lot harder. If you haven’t seen as much progress as you’d like, your motivation can begin to wane, and committing to anything for almost six months can be tough. While it might seem easier to slip back into old habits – or give up new ones – soldiering on is worth it. And it doesn’t need to be as hard as you think.
Here are six ways you can get your 2023 resolutions back on track, no matter your goal.
Stick to smaller goals
Sure, you can have a final, big-picture goal, but lofty ambitions can often seem insurmountable or impossible when you’re lacking motivation. Instead of thinking “I will not watch any reality TV for the rest of the year,” “I’m never eating chocolate again” or “I will win a marathon”, set more realistic aims. Research shows that you’re more likely to succeed with progress goals (e.g. limiting the amount of TV you watch or increasing the distance you can run), so break your overall goal down into practical steps.
If you’re new to running, for example, maybe your first goal is to run for 500m without stopping. You’d do that by walking/running at first, and then reducing the amount of time you slow to a walk. SMART goals are also more likely to get you to where you want to be. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based.
Put it in your calendar
Did you commit to exercising more often this year? Put your workouts in your calendar. Scheduling your workouts gives them the same value as any other appointment in your diary and will ensure you have allocated time to complete it. Placing your resolution – whether it be a gym class, meditation session or language class – in your diary will help keep you accountable and make you less likely to cancel, since you had nothing on at that time anyway.
Celebrate the little wins
You may not have dropped 20kg or ran for 20ks, but if you’ve slashed any weight at all and can run further than you ever have before, celebrate that. Don’t get stuck on a final number or outcome. If you are seeing positive changes in any aspect of your life because of your resolution, acknowledge it and give yourself the praise you deserve. Tell a friend about your accomplishment or reward yourself for your hard work. If you’ve fallen off the wagon a few times, celebrate the fact that you got back on. That’s often the most challenging part.
Stack your habits
Habit stacking is a great way to leverage activities you enjoy doing with those that you don’t. If you’re not a fan of working out, for example, plan to only listen to your favourite podcast or watch your favourite show while you’re exercising. In time, you’ll learn to associate working out with positive emotions and feel more motivated. If you prefer home workouts to gym workouts, for instance, try an online program that gives you the best of both worlds, like Flow Athletic TV.
The habit-stacking theory can be applied to any task you don’t actively enjoy, but also take time to investigate why you’re not enjoying your resolution. If your goal was to work out more, ask yourself why you don’t like heading to the gym. It might be a sign that you need to find a new one – one that has a community feel, has newer facilities or has more group classes on offer.
Sign yourself up for an event
Join a reading challenge, sign up for a meditation program, register for a cooking class or put your hand up for a fitness event such as the upcoming Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k & 5k or the HYROX Fitness Race. This will provide you with a long-term goal to aim for, and automatically break it down into smaller, achievable steps as you won’t be able to tackle it right away.
You’ll need to either train or dedicate time each day or week to achieving it. If you’re part of a bigger event, you can also get involved with the community of people who are taking part as well, which can really help drive up motivation and create a strong sense of camaraderie.
Ask for help
If you’re struggling to stick to your resolutions, call in reinforcements. This could be a friend with similar goals, so you can keep each other accountable, or it could be a professional, such as a personal trainer, nutritionist, business coach or therapist. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about your goal (if you’re open to sharing) so they can help support and encourage you. It’s much easier to achieve something when you have people in your corner cheering for you.
Ben Lucas is the co-founder and director of Sydney gym, Flow Athletic, and the innovator behind Flow After Dark, a silent yoga disco concept. He has run 40 marathons and five ultra-marathons and was a professional NRL player for the Cronulla Sharks. He is passionate about mental health and has raised more than $250k for charity. You can follow him on Instagram here.
Benjamin Lucas is Owner and Director of Flow Athletic Paddington.
Ben gre up in the southern Sydney suburb of Cronulla, where he excelled in athletics, basketball and rugby league during his formative years. Post schooling he went on with his rugby league to play professionally for the Cronulla Sharks, in Brisbane in Auckland.
Whilst training for an Ultra-marathon in 2010 Ben made the acquaintance of one of Sydney’s leading yoga teachers Kate Kendall. It was this meeting that influenced Ben’s career to change trajectory. He sold his three personal training/fitness businesses in 2012 to commit to a new concept of health.
In March 2013 Flow Athletic opened, bringing a unique mix of strength, fitness and yoga to the marketplace. Ben now spends the majority of his time on the growth of Flow. In 2015 Flow Athletic won Telstra Start-Up of the year.