At least for a fortnight.
There’s a huge rush for the first part of January when everyone’s full of pep and vinegar to get going. About the end of the month, and starting into the gray slog that’s February, people lose steam and start reverting back to old habits.
The odds are you’ll be caught in the rush of the waxing and waning of resolutions.
So let’s stop repeating this failing cycle and look at what can work.
- Wait until everyone else starts fading out then kick it into gear. This is a mental hack. You’ll see people start to give up right when you feel fresh and ready to tackle any problem. And when you start running out of willpower, the weak will have already left, leaving the regulars and the very few that will become regulars. You want to in that crowd.
- Start small. If you want to do something like exercise 5 days a week, but you aren’t doing anything right now, start with 2 times a week. Make sure it’s something you can measure and you keep track.
- Build on your successes. Once you are actually hitting the two days a week, increase duration, intensity, variety, anything that moves you closer to your ultimate goals. Again, make sure the changes are something you can measure.
- Failure is part of the game. You are going to suck at first. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter how you got knocked down to the mat, the important thing is you pick yourself back up and keep going.
- Every so often, at least once a month, take stock of your progress. It’s up to you how often. But here’s where measuring and recording are important. You don’t know how, or even if, you are improving if you don’t have any way of telling.
- Perseverance. “Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.” — Plutarch
- Suck it up, nancy. It’s hard. Boo-hoo. Do it anyway.
If you apply these principles, you will start to see change. Take that tiniest change, no matter how small, and run with it. By the time 2018 rolls around, you’ll be one of the regulars, bracing for the flood of enthusiastic people that will wash out in a few weeks.