We’re nearly through the month of January and, for some, the early ambitions of the New Year’s resolutions are already wearing thin. You are not alone; many people abandon their behavior change resolutions within the first few weeks.
There are a number of different variables that can account for this premature finale to the behavior change process, but here are a few likely reasons and solutions.
1) Unrealistic expectations. Many people think they can make the transition from couch potato to body builder in a matter of weeks. The truth of the matter is that getting a behavior change to stick and seeing results both take time, consistency, and dedication. Those extra pounds didn’t magically appear overnight and they sure aren’t going to just disappear overnight! Setting realistic goals and easing into any new behavior will help increase your chances of success.
2) Don’t make working out seem like work. In the first few weeks of taking on any behavior change, approaching your goals in a task-oriented manner may help, but the glory of this approach tends to quickly fade. To be successful long term, you have to make the experience fun. Most people do not associate exercise and fun in the same context. However, if you’re able to remove the pressure from yourself and instead learn to enjoy the progression, then it will become much simpler to stay on track and achieve your goals.
3) Remember to forget. There will be days when unforeseen circumstances will arise that prohibit you from working at your goal. I assure you it is okay to miss or slip a day here and there. We are typically our own worst enemy when it comes to any behavior change because of our fear of failure. Instead of giving up when faced with adversity, learn from the situation so that the next time you can be more prepared—and then move on. Each day is a new adventure.