Many people will have started the New Year with the best of intentions by making a change in their diet or taking on a new challenge. Whether it’s Dry January, Tri-January, or Veganuary, if you’d made this far it is about to become even trickier. Almost 3 weeks in, you will be about to meet a fork in the road right when the shiny appeal of your commitment is beginning to wear off. At this crossroads, most are hit by the sudden stark realisation that what you signed up is difficult and must face the mother of all confidence wobbles.
The temptation to take the easy route and give up can be almost overwhelming. It is always going to be more comfortable going back to the familiar territory of your old habits. There will be many others alongside you doing the same. But if you are still up to the challenge of your New Year’s resolution, how do you find the motivation to take the more difficult road, especially when it’s an unknown route?
At times like this, I could easily point you towards any one of the hundreds of cringeworthy inspirational quotes for success that you could buy printed on a t-shirt, coffee mug or mouse mat. Or I could say something about focusing on the larger goal ahead and playing the long game. I could even point out that simply having the choice and ability to ‘Do something today that your future self will thank you for’ is a very privileged position to be in. However, none of that will help you wrestle with the immediate task of just making it through until the end of the day without cracking.
Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, there is no magic one-size-fits-all solution to making any New Year’s resolution stick. However, there are 3 ways to make it slightly easier whilst you are trying.
- Make your mark. Find something – anything – that can help to tick off the days spent taking on your new resolution. Ideally, choose something that you cannot avoid walking past every day that clearly shows that you are still going forward when it feels like you are stuck treading water. Mark a calendar, make a star chart, scratch a tally into a wall. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you can see that you are making traction in the right direction of change.
- Don’t do it alone. Find someone else to share with the misery, gory details and the good times, too. Even better, find someone who is willing to go along on the same resolution ride. Whether you are both struggling with diet boredom or coping with an aching body, shared commiseration is always a good distraction from the difficult task at hand.
- Plan for the bad days. When your life seems to implode all around you it can be easy for good intentions and time-consuming resolutions to move to the bottom of a growing list of higher priorities. Expect that to happen at some point and prepare for it. If you have taken on a new diet, plan some emergency meals in advance. If your resolution is physical, find a 24-hr gym for when you need a workout outside your usual hours or when the weather is atrocious.
Lastly, just because you are 3 weeks in doesn’t mean it’s too late to adopt any of these 3 tips. If they can help you get to the end of the month, who knows how much longer you can go. As someone once said, A thousand-mile journey begins with a single step. However, I personally find it more helpful to remember that Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
As for my own New Year’s resolution for 2019, I have signed up to run my first ever marathon in May. I am currently working my way through a star chart while sharing the training ‘joy’ with my husband. It is already becoming a source of new Fuel for Sport recipes. Speaking of which, this Carrot, coriander and almond soup was a very welcome recovery meal after a long run in freezing temperatures.