We all make New Year’s resolutions, every year, and never keep them for more than… well, about a week.
2015 was the Christmas of the NutriBullet – and how many of them have gone untouched? 2016 will bring the same old resolutions… More gym trips, healthiness and generally being the ultimate green and lean babe, and the likelihood is it won't last past 24 January - dubbed 'Fail Friday' after it was revealed it's the date most people lose their willpower.
Don’t feel bad about it; research shows only 8% of people actually end up keeping their resolutions, and there’s an actual scientific reason behind it. Self-restraint is a desire that comes from the front of the brain - the part that has more recently evolved, so survival instincts and primitive feelings (like pleasure) can kick in and overrule it. When we give in to our desires, like not being healthy when we've said we were going to be, we get a whole jolt of dopamine which we like, even though the more evolved part of the brain knows ultimately we'll regret it.
The idea of New Year's Resolutions, of sorts, has been around for a pretty long time. The Babylonians, 2000 and a bit years ago, promised to return objects they’d borrowed and repay debts, while the Romans made promises to the god Janus.
Here’s how to keep your 2016 New Year's Resolutions…
1. Make them realistic. Don't promise to transform your whole life into some kind of everything-free gym babe, which is an unappealing prospect in grim old January, but give up Diet Coke or go to yoga twice a week.
2. Set short-term specific goals you can feel good about when you succeed, like those two yoga classes a week instead of something vague like ‘get fit’.
3. Actually factor in time to do your resolution, if that’s what’s required. Set aside evenings to go to the gym, for example, so you get into the swing of it rather than realising mid-way through Janary you’ve been too busy to keep it up.
4. Do it with a pal. Fitness classes and gym trips are infinitely funner when you’re with a friend – and you’ll feel less weird about your new healthy diet.
5. Tell people about them, so then – basically – you’ll feel guilty and silly about not keeping them.
6. Keep track of your accomplished goals – in an old-fashioned notepad OR an app.
7. Don’t totally give up just because you aren’t perfect at the beginning of January – it’s a grim time and there’s still a lot of year to go. If you notice yourself slipping, just make a conscious effort to get back to it.
8. Know that the more willpower you exert, the easier it will get. Instead of being something you either have or don’t, practice will make it easier.
9. Only make a couple of resolutions, rather than loads you probably won't keep. It’s good to be optimistic but you’ve gadda be realistic.
10. Self-restraint can lower your blood glucose levels so boost them back up with a glass of orange juice or lemonade to keep your resolutions on track.
11. Make it something you actually want to do – or you’ve no chance in keeping it.
12. Plan ahead. Don’t just make a snap decision but put thought into it before the 31st.
13. Sounds slightly cringey but reward yourself – not with something self-defeating (though tempting), like having a chocolate bar after the gym, but with a new pair of leggings.
14. Be patient. Word is it takes 21 days for something to be habit, so stick at it.
InStyle’s New Year’s Resolution ideas…
1. Read a book every two weeks.
2. Go to the gym or yoga three times a week.
3. Wear more hats (courtesy of our fashion features editor Hannah Rochell).
4. Save a chunk of money a month (then don't accidentally spend it all on a knitwear binge in Cos).
5. Use dental floss every morning.
6. Learn a language.