We are all always so full of enthusiasm in January to set goals… but did you know only twelve per cent of Australians keep their New Year’s resolutions? For something we do every year (so we get plenty of practice!), that’s a pretty ordinary success rate!
Well, obviously, the problem with most resolutions is we don’t really mean them. Often, they are just a fantasy we conjure up after too many fruit mince pies, family gatherings and a boozy New Year’s Eve that we will one day magically lose 5kg/run a marathon/fall in love.
So I did some research...
And what I discovered is there are scientifically validated studies which suggest the problem with a lot of resolutions is that they are overly concerned with the end goal. You may be thinking “Isn’t that the point – to set goals?” And you would be right – but experts say goals not only need action plans but also realistic expectations of the habits needed to realise them.
What does that mean? Well there is a litany of research on enhanced success when you focus on the actions which will achieve the goal rather than the goal itself. In these studies, success of participants was generally linked to their emotional responses along the way – specifically reduced anxiety experienced by those who had realistic expectations through visualising the actions rather than the outcome. Imagine, if you found a way to avoid feeling disappointed, disillusioned and de-motivated on your resolution journey? It’s not hard to then imagine that, just possibly, you would feel less inclined to give up.
Apply the logic to health and fitness goals…
For example, you may want to lose 5kg or run 10km by Easter. We tend to focus on how we’ll look or feel when we reach the goal, but how much time would you usually put into thinking about the daily habits or actions you need to be perform to reach the goal? Start running and stop eating chocolate… obviously! But how are you going to do that? Visualise yourself getting up at 5am every day to exercise, shopping for fresh produce every day, cooking every night, doing food prep every Sunday for the week, saying no to eating out with friends, rejecting the cake in the tea room on Fridays, not drinking at parties for 12 weeks etc.
Acknowledging and committing to the daily actions (or habits) you need to develop to reach your goals and what you might have to sacrifice to make the time at the start, is naturally going to lead to less anxiety along the way when you have to put in the work and reduce the likelihood of giving up because you have set a realistic expectation for what you need to do.
The concept can apply anywhere in life to financial savings goals, study goals, as well as your health and fitness goals!
If you want some help with your diet and nutrition planning, we'd love to help. Book NOW for a consult or DEXA body composition scan.