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How not setting new year’s resolutions can help you succeed

Posted by Joanne on January 9, 2013 Comments Off

How can not setting any new year’s resolutions help you succeed?

New year’s resolutions set you up for failure.

Fitness Trainer Claudine De Jong mentions in her blog post “Cut the fad out” that New Year’s resolutions ultimately fail. Setting “short term goals” work much better because they are less intimidating. Slow and steady wins over new year’s resolutions that are hard to sustain over time (i.e. fad diets).

Leo Widrich in “The science of new year’s resolutions: Why 88% fail and how to make them work” explains why our brains fail at new year’s resolutions. It is because “when you set a new year’s resolution, an enormous amount of willpower is required. It’s an amount that your brain simply can’t handle.” The good news is that we can train our brains to succeed, by making less abstract, tiny goals, linked to small and specific behaviours.

Get active. Get in shape.

One goal that I set last year was to become a more physically stronger person (I know, this sounds like a very abstract goal). This was after a ski trip last February, when I sadly and shockingly realized how out of shape I had become. Too much sitting at a desk can make you weak (and can kill you, or so the scientific research tells us so). I certainly had the motivation to want to get in shape and like many people, I have signed up for gym membership in January, started out with a bang, and ended with a fizzle. So this time, I made the best investment in my health that I could. I found myself a fitness trainer (through Twitter), who just happened to be Claudine De Jong. I wanted to learn how to become healthier without relying on a gym to get me there.

Claudine believes that slow and steady sets the pace and prevents injuries. I didn’t start out lifting heavy weights, working out seven days a week and setting myself up for failure. I started out slow by setting a goal to work out once a week. According to the scientific studies, by starting out with a small behaviour change, I was training my brain for goal success.

This kinder and gentler approach, with small changes in behaviour, made things happen. I noticed changes in my body. I was no longer huffing and puffing up the stairs. My energy increased. I was more conscious about what I was eating and cut back on the “white” stuff (white sugar, rice, pasta, milk, flour) and red meat. I increased my intake of water, whole grains and lentils. I liked how my clothes were fitting. I liked that I no longer felt “stuffed” after eating. I started getting out and going for walks on the weekend with my husband. The slow and steady, one small behaviour change at a time, had a snow ball effect, resulting in a stronger and healthier me.

So this year, instead of setting a New Year’s resolution, set smaller, short-term goals, and be specific about the behaviours that will get you there. This process works whether setting personal or workplace goals. And if being a stronger you is one of your goals, contact Claudine De Jong to help you get there or get you started.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive 2013.

Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates provides Outsourced HR, recruiting, and training solutions to organizations wishing to create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces. Give us a call.

Related blog posts:

Tips for successful goal setting

A goal without a plan is only an illusion

Phil the Guitar Guy – A story of success

Photo credit: My hubby (And in case you are wondering - No, I’m not getting ready for the ski-tuck racing position – as one of my colleagues jokingly suggested!)

 Joanne Royce

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