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Now that we are a month into the new year, it’s a great time to reevaluate how those resolutions are going. The top three resolutions in the USA are consistently: 1. lose weight, 2. quit smoking, and 3. exercise more.
The good news is that making resolutions improves your chances of sticking to them. According to John Norcross, a University of Scranton psychologist, “Studies show that people who resolve to change behaviors do much better than non-resolvers who have the same habits that need to be changed.”
The bad news is that within one month only 64% of people are still meeting their goals, and by six months that number has dropped to 44%. Norcross attributes these statistics to resolution-setters that don’t have a well thought out plan for how to achieve their goal. “These habits and behaviors are very difficult to change, and when you don’t have a well-thought-out plan on how you are going to make sustainable changes that fit into your lifestyle, it leads to failure.” The stats are even more staggering knowing that on average only 8% of resolutions are kept for the whole year.
Some keys to sticking to your new years resolutions, and defying the odds, are:
Keep it simple
If we set resolutions that are too time consuming or require things we don’t have access to (such as improving your stamina for riding but your bike is in need of a tuneup) we are more likely to quit or give up. Keep your goals simple and straight forward. Know your limits and what is available to you and stick to it. By setting the bar too high we risk self disappointment and frustration.
Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate with us, especially if you live in a wintery location. If riding x number of miles a week is your goal, pick up an indoor bike trainer and eliminate any excuse to skip your workout. Life can get busy and messy which turns into an easy excuse to skip a workout. Be sure to schedule out a specific time of day to exercise and stick to it. Make it personal time.
Build a support network
Share your aspirations with your friends and family and ask them to hold you accountable for goals. Or join a cycling club. Knowing that someone is counting on you and supporting you will give you an added purpose for sticking it through. We all like to be recognized for a job well done and our friends can do just that. Ask for support when you need it and celebrate your achievements.
Learn from your mistakes
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or eat that big piece of cake. Just get back out there and start again. Think about what made you give up on your resolution and learn from it. Figure out what to do differently next time and work through it.
We all have aspirations to be better people and the best intentions when it comes to sticking to those goals. Just remember, if you miss a step, it’s never too late to start again.