Happy New Year

Why M is for March and (a lack of) Motivation…

We’ve all made a new year’s resolution at some point. We’ve all broken one too. In fact, 88% of us break them each year – usually by March. By Kiesha Meikle

The New Year is the perfect time for a fresh start, a time when the failures and disappointments of the previous year can be forgotten, the slate wiped clean. This is why so many of us choose to make resolutions around the start of the year – even though those same resolutions were often far too optimistic the year before.

In fact, by March, the majority of us have given up on the resolutions that saw us buying new equipment or cutting out entire food groups in January.

New Years Resolution

We are not solely to blame. With society and the media constantly pushing us to improve ourselves – our looks, our wealth, our health – it is only natural that we respond by finding triggers to motivate ourselves to do this.

We all know that changing something about ourselves or our situation is no mean feat – it often takes a long time and continuous motivation to accomplish. Maintaining those changes can be hard, especially when deep down we don’t really think that we can do them.

The truth is, willpower is something that many of us lack – but this is down to training. If we don’t exercise this part of our brain on a regular basis, when we actually need it it won’t work. Avoiding that cream cake is a prime example of this.

The most popular New Year’s resolutions often include weight loss (no surprise there). We always feel guilty after Christmas for binging on junk food and we promise ourselves that we’ll lose the weight – and maybe a little more – by joining a gym or buying exercise equipment. Come March, the gym membership is unused or already cancelled and the exercise equipment is discarded in the corner being used as a hanger for clothes.

Gym equipmentWhat to do when the New Year buzz has worn off:

So, you have lost the motivation to eat healthily and go to the gym everyday. What did you expect going cold turkey?

If you’re used to eating junk food, nothing healthy is going to appeal to you: the combination of sugar and fat is highly addictive, and very hard to resist. The best way to adjust your eating habits is to do it gradually and to monitor them. Completely cutting out your favourite chocolate bar if you’re used to eating them daily is not the way to stop yourself. In most cases, cold turkey doesn’t work; it just means that when you next get near your favourite chocolate bar, you’ll eat twice as much.

The slowly, slowly method works much better.

Can’t go to the gym everyday? Go twice a week instead. Need to cut out junk food? Swap the chips for a salad and the fizzy drinks for watery cordial.

Cold Turkey is often just a temporary fix to a long term problem. Plan ahead and be realistic instead.

New Year, New You: Which resolutions have you stuck to and which fell by the weigh side?