For far too many years, around 80% of Britons fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions beyond January. This may be due to unrealistic expectations, lack of support, vague goals or simply having the wrong attitude. Wellbeing Specialist and Performance Coach Akcelina Cvijetic offers her tried and tested tips to help you stay svelte, toned and on track throughout the coming year and beyond.
1. Be S.M.A.R.T
S – Make Specific Goals: Set targets like: “I want to lose 2 pounds per week for a total of 16 pounds weight loss in 8 weeks”, as opposed to: “I need to lose all this weight I gained over the last 5 years”.
M – Measurable: Make your goals measurable. What gets measured, gets done: “I will run 2 miles in 20 minutes; I will do a 30 minute cardio-workout twice a week”, not: “I’ll work out more every week”.
A – Accountable: Tell your friends and family about your New Year’s Resolutions to help keep you on track (instead of visiting you with a cake). Why not give your friend a £100 and ask them to give it back to you at the end of the month if you stick to your plan? Or get a wellness specialist or performance coach to create a bespoke programme that suits your pace of life and helps you to successfully achieve your goals.
R – Be Realistic: Don’t expect to look like a supermodel or to fit into a much smaller outfit in 1 month if it took you 2 years to get out of shape.
T – Trackable: Review your progress in stages to track it. See what is working and fix what isn’t! If your resolution is to go to the gym three times a week but you haven’t been sticking to it due to late nights at work, try going in the mornings instead. Be flexible and make the necessary adjustments for best results.
2. Know Your Motivations & Adopt the Right Attitude
One of the reasons why so many resolutions fade away is that they focus on what those making them want to accomplish instead of asking themselves why. What are the benefits you will get as a result? Why do you want to shed excess weight and be healthy? It’s not just looking pretty on the beach that should motivate you. Rather, it is having more confidence and energy to do the things you always wanted to do. The more specific and personal your motivations, the more likely you are to maintain the goal.
Do you want to enjoy the process of achieving your ideal weight and make it last? Adjust your attitude: If you perceive weight loss as a process devoid of any pleasure, you are most likely not going to do it. Similarly, if your attitude towards exercise is such that it’s hard and impossible to sustain your motivation will fade away. Success requires a winning attitude: start looking at achieving a slimmer figure as a reward for your body, to feel lighter and healthier. Also, start viewing exercise as a chance to get fit, look and feel better about yourself and you will keep it up.
3. Break Down Your Goals Into Achievable Steps & Focus on One Thing at a Time
There is a reason you have never heard the saying “365 apples a year keep the doctor away.” The way you transform your life is one day at a time; one pound at a time; one thought at a time! Breaking it down into chunks prevents unrealistic expectations and giving up. Focus on one change at a time. Rather than trying to have several large changes at once, such as trying to lose weight, quit smoking, and increase your exercise, break the changes down into smaller chunks and focus on one single resolution at a time. Your focus and energies won’t be spread too thinly this way. When you give a single resolution all of your attention you are more likely to succeed!
4. Implement New Habits Into Your Lifestyle Easily & Effortlessly
After you’ve broken down each change into smaller steps, make the first step easy. For example, if you want to start flossing, the first step can be to buy it and put it next to your toothbrush. Find routine trigger points during your day for implementing your resolution. For example, brushing your teeth after a meal. In doing this, you will be attaching this new habit onto the existing one.
Do you want to maintain your new habits? Create a healthy lifestyle to support your ideal weight and exercise programme. Why not start your day with a cup of hot water, lemon and ginger for a mini detox? Remove all the temptations from work and home. Stock up on healthy alternatives so that whatever food you reach out for will be one that will keep you trim and healthy.
5. Use Empowering Words to Keep Up with New Habits
All language is hypnotic! Use positive, empowering language rather than negative statements when thinking about a new habit. For example, rather than thinking: “I can’t be bothered to go to the gym”, think: “I always feel so much better after a workout and I love that feeling.” Reaffirming the benefits is always far more motivating than focusing on the negatives.
6. Keep It Up by Feeling Good
Attach good feelings to your resolutions. Remember to add more enjoyment and fun to your life (recall – be specific). When we feel good, we feel happier and more motivated to do things easily and effortlessly.
7. Be Mindful of Your Focus
What we focus on we get more of. Wherever the focus goes the energy flows! We always have a choice of what we focus on. We can either focus on what we want in life or on the reasons why we can’t have it. Which one will you choose? The quality of our life depends on the choices we make!
8. Keep Reminding Yourself of Your Goal
Once you’ve decided on your resolution, a visual reminder can help you stick to it. I suggest writing a note and sticking it somewhere you look regularly, such as the bathroom mirror or a computer screen. This “visual sat-nav” reminds you why you’re pursuing the resolution. Use alarms on your phone and computer to remind you of when to take time dedicated to your resolution.
9. Have an Early Night
An early night is one of the best ways to stick to resolutions because sleep deprivation leaves the brain without the mental energy needed for willpower. Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, claims that tiredness erodes self-control. He said: “The brain requires energy to do something we don’t really want to do or find difficult to do. If you are sleep deprived, then you don’t have the mental energy needed. In fact some of the things that people do for their resolutions, like getting up early to go to the gym, leave them more sleep deprived. This is why over time they find it harder and harder to keep going”.
10. Rewire Your Brain for Success
We write “to do” lists all the time but not “to be” lists. We don’t plan how we want to be and feel. One effective strategy is to visualise yourself how you want to feel and be the following day, for example, working effectively. Close your eyes and imagine how you would be if you were working effectively. What would you be doing that would help you have a more effective day? What thoughts would you be thinking? What actions would you engaging in? What positive mantras would you be saying to yourself? Now see yourself doing your job in a really effective manner and feeling good. Doing this before going to sleep is especially effective as that’s the time our subconscious mind is most impressionable.
About Akcelina Cvijetic
Akcelina Cvijetic who uses a host of therapies such as hypnotherapy, NLP, TFT counselling and supplements with her clients who include Goldie Hawn and Imran Khan. She helps her clients cope with burnout, adrenal fatigue and anxiety as well as tackle confidence issues and change detrimental behaviours. She espouses Heartfulness over Mindfulness and believes that taking the ’emotional stinger’ of a situation or memory is the key to healing.
Akcelina has been hailed as a incredible healer by a host of prominent publications including Vogue, Harpers’ and Tatler. A globally recognised wellbeing expert, Akcelina deals with anxiety and emotional distress, adrenal burn out, insomnia, reprograming minds towards eating and a host of other issues.