I've said before that New Year's resolutions are rubbish (more on that here) because they can relegate goal-setting and achievement to an annual event instead of a constant ongoing process
Too often the result is then over-reaching on the goals with a predictably high failure rate. If approached smartly though, resolutions can be a powerful thing - if you're planning yours here's the perfect winner's guide.
First, the three top rules for resolution success:
- 1 Make winning easy: big goals are all well and good, but don't make them so big that failing is easier than winning. The 365-day run streak is a great example. One heck of a goal for sure, but it only takes one day missed and the goal's in tatters. Break any big goal into a series smaller ones you can hit along the way so you're constantly winning and, as a result, constantly motivated.
- 2 Think longterm: if you're looking for big results in the first month chances are you'll be disappointed. This is why most resolutions are in the bin before January's out. Focus on big changes in a year however and the game changes completely in your favour. Compound the results of hitting your micro-goals en route to the main one and you'll be a different person this time next year.
- 3 Keep it real: in the excitement of any resolution it's easy to forget time and place. As an example, January for most of us is mid-winter, the toughest possible time for outdoor training and also a time when the short days and long nights can wear down the motivation of even the hardiest athletes. Make sure your resolution plans fit your life and your location
With these in mind, here are few resolution suggestions to get the ball rolling.
Meditation - lotus pose, mountain and incense pong not needed after all
Yes, really. For most hard-chargers meditation seems like so much woo-woo nonsense, but get behind the hippy language and whiff of incense around it and you'll find the not-so-secret weapon of an uncommonly high proportion of top achievers in sport and business worldwide.
On top of this it has huge performance benefits, while also being proven to reduce stress (and it's killer by product - cortisol) as well as reducing longterm risks of dementia and other major nasties. All this for free and in just 5-10 minutes a day.
Better still, meditation is painfully easy. Once you have the basics down you pretty much can't get it wrong. And the basics are:
- Close your eyes
- Focus on your breath
- When your mind wanders - it will, constantly - notice, and return focus to your breath
- Repeat for 5-10 mins
- That's it
Try a plant-based diet
After meditation, dropping meat, fish and dairy for a bit sounds positively normal. It also comes with a wealth of performance and health benefits and is a great way to drop any unwanted Christmas weight without slashing calories.
It's also much easier than it sounds, particularly when approached in small stages. For example, shooting for two days a week in January is a good opener, building to one week a month and beyond if you like the results of that initial experiment.
Our guide here has all you need to get started.
Sweat the small stuff
This gem involves focusing on those tiny snap decisions we all make every day and swinging as many as possible in your favour. Each one on its own takes almost zero effort, but their compounded effect when added up over time is seismic.
Here are a few examples:
- Lift or stairs? Take the stairs
- Another drink or sparkling water? Water please
- Cook up the leftovers in the fridge or get a takeaway? Get cooking
- TV or training? It's training time
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