Although I discourage people from making New Years Resolutions, especially big lifestyle changes that are near-impossible to achieve, I appreciate that a lot of people do make them. By the start of December every year I hear friends and co-workers talking about their resolutions for the next year and I genuinely believe their determination to stick to them.
During my own personal lifestyle change, one of the things I constantly tell myself is ‘one step at a time’. The longest lasting change is gradual, and if I happen to slip up and take a couple of steps backwards I try not to beat myself up about it and instead work out how I can move forward again. Making those small steps can be incredibly difficult, though, and it is so easy to make an excuse as to why you have to wait until next week to start.
At the moment I work in an office, a very sedentary environment where it is very easy to become lazy and put on weight. Determined to break this trend, last year my team and I made changes together. All five of us tried to live healthier lives (and I also encouraged them to live more environmentally friendly lives). We all had our own personal reasons for doing it, and we all went about it in different ways, but we encouraged each other daily and shared ideas and knowledge. I have no doubt that, without the support of the other four, not one of us would have succeeded as well as we have so far. Who needs a personal trainer or nutritionist when you have four coaches stopping you from buying that chocolate bar from the vending machine?
After a couple of months taking steps forward together, we noticed that one of our number was regressing. The colleague in question will remain anonymous, but he’d started to take a couple of steps back in his diet and he had started to make excuses not to go to the gym. The rest of us banded together to remind him of why we made our pact in the first place, and what he wanted to achieve. He’s still not entirely back on track. but we will continue to support him in his ambition to lead a healthier life and set a better example to his child.
In a nutshell, the idea is to get together with some like-minded friends or work colleagues and encourage and support each other in your New Year Resolutions. It might give you the push you need to make the change forever. And don’t forget to check in with people occasionally to make sure they’re still on the right path.