Do you set New Year resolutions? How often do you actually start them? Or continue them for that matter? According to Forbes, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

It’s an interesting concept – why do we even set a special date for starting something new? We commonly hear cries of “I’ll start next Monday” (why not Friday?), or “I’ll start in the New Year” (because, after all, there will be too many treats to avoid at Christmas).

Thinking along these lines sets us up for failure, due to continual procrastination and self-sabotage, because we then simply allow ourselves to indulge more in the very thing that we claim we want to change (usually something we perceive is bad for our health or wellbeing). We continue along our merry way, whilst making excuses and using delaying tactics to avoid having to stop.

And the end result? It means that when we come to actually taking the first step it is even harder, because we are now 10lb heavier, or are finding even the simplest of movements more difficult, or have lost the enthusiasm for discovering a new challenge and so on. We lost our mojo before we even found it!

Perhaps it could be down to WHEN you actually set your New Year resolutions, which dictates how successful you will be in achieving them.

Typically, how many of us wake up on January 1st feeling amazing, full of energy and raring to go? (hats off to you if you are one of the few!). Most of us crave a duvet day and curl up in front of the fire, watching yet another movie (oh – and better finish those choccies while we’re at it!).

And so you spend the next few days “enjoying the last bit of the holidays”, and then suddenly it’s all a rush as the kids start back at school, or you start back at work, and the rat race is under way again. Before you know it it’s February – and you haven’t even really thought about what your goals or resolutions are, let alone how you are going to achieve them. Roll on March!

Or, suppose that you DO get your act into gear following the Christmas binge-fest? You sign up for an expensive gym membership (believing that this will be motivation enough!) and beast yourself into going 3 or 4 times a week throughout January (which is hard enough at the best of times, but will be pretty taxing on the body if you have been a previous couch-potato – it often results in injuries, not surprisingly, which can put you back out of action for a few weeks, and back to square one). And, statistically, when February arrives most people have dropped off their gym’s radar, with all their motivation and initial excitement but a distant memory. (“I’ll get back to it in March!”)

This is why setting goals in December could actually be much more productive and may put you into the 8% of people who achieve their New Year resolutions.

Typically we think of December as being far too busy a month for anything that may be seen as self-serving, or will take precious time away from… (er…shopping?), because of course it is a time for family, for excitement, reunions and special gifts. And this is important and to be cherished, don’t get me wrong. However, December can prove to be a very motivational and inspirational month, and can set us on the road to being proactive even before January has arrived.

Spending some time thinking about what you DO want – especially for the coming year – can help solidify your plans and help you prepare for starting at the beginning of January with a clear cut view of what you want to achieve, and how you are going to do it. Using a goal planner can help you to focus better and give you direction (there are lots of fun ones out there, which will guide you through all the aspects of goal setting, helping to make it a really creative process).

Simply THINKING about your goals and resolutions during December means that you might actually START taking positive steps during this time. For example, feeling more motivated not to over indulge too often during the festivities, or being more mindful about your actions because you are becoming excited about the challenges ahead (perhaps you are planning to run a 5K next year and you want to put yourself ahead of the game by taking regular walks for example).

Ask yourself:

  • What do you want/hope for next year?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • How are you going to achieve those goals?
  • When is your target date?

Christmas can often mean spending a lot of money on gimmicks, and things we don’t need and will never use, because we got caught up in the glittery, tinsely, sparkly, magical moment (it’s easy to do when wandering around the shops, listening to the Christmas music and being seduced by the lights and decorations). But just a little forethought can result in money well spent. Investing in your health, emotional wellbeing, and mental creativity can reap big rewards. Signing up to something during December can herald an exciting start to January – with an action plan ready to go, no excuses and creating plenty of enthusiasm and anticipation for the year ahead!

What better way to end a year than to be planning a bigger, better, healthier one?!

Thinking of improving your health in 2018? Sign up in December for a course such as the Fast/Feast or Vivify! Program and start on January 1st – and as a special holiday gift, receive 20% off!