Re-Start Your New Year’s Resolutions in April

How are your new year’s resolutions going so far? Have you been able to continue with it for three months? If not, you’re not alone. Starting your New Years resolution in January can seem like a good idea, but there’s also a chance your resolutions may fail. If you’ve fallen short of your goals, don’t worry. Here’s a suggestion to help you get back on track: start your New Year’s resolution in April!

Why start your resolutions in April? The idea of starting a resolution in January makes sense as a fresh start, but what if you could maximize your time and energy if you started a little bit later? There are several good reasons to wait. For one, if you’re trying to start your workout goals, starting in January can be daunting. January is cold and dark. It’s hard to start resolutions after the holiday season, where we often eat fatty foods and drink in excess. When January arrives, it can be hard to make such a strong switch and commit to more gym workouts or train to run a half marathon. Though we make strides to go to the gym before work when it’s still dark and freezing, we still may not have the energy to power through our workouts or the resistance to not eat certain types of food.

Psychologists found that when we as people make goals based on cultural expectations, such as a new year’s resolution, we often fail. Why? People tend to fail because they do not set realistic goals, instead keeping larger, open-ended resolutions instead. We make resolutions that are quite lofty: reduce debt, go to the gym more, train for a marathon, stop smoking. The problem with these big umbrella resolutions, is that they are not actionable. They are so broad that we often don’t break down the steps to achieve them. Want to stop smoking? What steps will you take to reduce those steps? It’s more than just going cold turkey. Related, if you are trying to start a new daily gym routine as a resolution but have not stepped foot inside a gym in six months, having a broad resolution goal as “go to the gym everyday” will probably fail. 

How do you get around this? Make your resolutions actionable. Instead of having a resolution of “go to the gym everyday”, start smaller with something like “have three workouts for 30 minutes a week” and build from there. Plus, most of the time resolutions are goals you may have wanted before January 1. There is no reason why you can’t quit smoking in December or even wait until February. Once you make your resolutions actionable, they can be completed at any time.

April is a great starting point for your resolutions, because you can have more time to be more thoughtful in planning. If your resolution involves fitness, there’s an even more selfish reason for why to start your resolution in April: the folks who made resolutions in January but couldn’t keep them won’t be at the gym by April. In April, the gym crowd will be back to its normal levels, meaning you will be able to workout with the space you want and get the attention and help you need in classes or from trainers. The weather will be nicer which is an incentive to go outside for your workout.  

If your resolutions failed in January, don’t lose hope. Try again in April and see if you’re able to hold onto your goals. It’s never too late to start so don’t give up.  Got tips to help people trying to restart their resolutions? Share in the comments!

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Micah Peterson

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