What’s your resolution for 2022? We’re here to give you a little push up that hill. Here are some tips to get yourself to the top.
How to Stay Motivated with Your New Year’s Resolutions
Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2022
Story by: Ken Lovering | Travel Writer
What’s your resolution for 2022? Get in more cycling time? Eat a healthier diet? Spend less time scrolling on your phone and more time reading books that matter to you? Connecting more with friends?
Social scientists have called our tendency to set new year’s goals the “fresh start effect.” It’s motivated by a desire to leave old, unhelpful habits in the rear-view mirror and move forward toward healthier ones. Regardless of when you resolve to change—at the start of a new year or a new month, after the kids go off to college or after you retire—incorporating new habits into your set daily routine can be like conquering a steep hill on a bike weighed down with (excuse us, here) a ton of baggage.
We’re here to give you a little push up that hill. Here are some tips to get yourself to the top:
FIRST, PLAN IT…
Map it all out. When you’re out cycling, it’s natural to first determine where you’re headed and the route you’ll follow to get there, right? Approach your resolution with the same forethought, and you’ll set yourself up for success. You need to plan exactly how you’re going to reach your goal. So spend a little time strategizing and drawing out your “roadmap.”
Be specific and concrete. Getting in better shape is a great resolution. You’re more likely to succeed if you specify precisely what that looks like. Get as granular as possible. “Ride 15 miles every day” is a great goal. “Ride from my house to the town hall and back at 9:00 a.m.” is a better one. (If getting in cycling shape is your resolution, we’ve got you covered: download our FREE Six-Week “Road to 50K Training Plan” here.)
Create a reward. Decide at the very start of your plan how you’ll treat yourself once you reach your ultimate goal. We may be biased, but we think a VBT Bicycling Vacation is a terrific reward! You might also choose to give yourself a pat on the back with a weekend away, a fancy dinner out, or a shopping spree.
Tie your resolution to an interesting place. If you want to cook more, make it Italian! You can learn about the varied cuisines of all the regions of Italy. Are you committed to cycling more? Dive into the history of the Tour de France and (of course!) get yourself a yellow jersey. Want to get more organized at home? Study up on the concept of Japanese minimalism.
THEN, DO IT…
Remove barriers. Anticipate what might undermine you from achieving your goals, then get rid of the potential culprit. If you want to lose weight, pour the sweetened cola that’s in your fridge down the drain. At the grocery store, walk right past the ice cream case. (We know it’s hard – the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters is right up the road from us!)
Add cues. Just like you want to remove barriers, you want to introduce large and small touches that will remind you to keep going with your resolution. If you have resolved to reach out to friends more, keep their phone numbers in a visible place (not just in your phone’s contact list). If you want to ride your bike every day, lay out your biking clothes in plain sight after you’ve washed them. (And, in the spirit of removing barriers, be sure you have two sets of clothes so you don’t have to do a wash every day!)
Break your resolution into micro-goals. Want to lose 10 pounds? Set your sights on ½ pound per week by replacing one of your unhealthy favorite foods with a vegetable or fruit. Want to ride a century this summer? Start with a typical ride for you (10 miles? 20 miles?) and add a couple of miles every time you go out. You’ll get there!
Pair your new habit with something you enjoy. If you live in a cold climate that keeps you from exercising outdoors, find a podcast you can enjoy while you crank out the miles on a stationary bike or treadmill. Better still, only allow yourself to listen to that podcast while you’re exercising so that you’ll be sure to hit the gym.
Get support and accountability. Having a buddy or cohort can make all the difference. When you share your goals with a good friend, family member, or trainer, you’ll stay motivated and accountable. As you incorporate your new habits and routines into your life, ask them to support you with gentle reminders or (if it’ll work for you) some tough love.
Keep a journal or use an app. Documenting your progress is a great way to keep yourself focused. In a journal, you can record how it’s going and even write out what might be getting in your way. There are also apps out there that let you track your daily activity. Either one – or both! – can provide two crucial elements: encouragement as you see what you’ve accomplished, and refocus when you veer off track.
Be kind to yourself! Establishing new habits is hard. Change takes time and it’s okay to miss a goal or revert to old ways. The important thing is to remind yourself why you committed yourself to your resolution in the first place, keep your eyes on the rewards, and celebrate your small successes along the way.