Sarah Doyle of The Better Life Project believes we need to focus on quality over quantity to get the best results this January.
As January 1 approaches, hundreds of Irish people will set themselves targets for the year – from losing weight to quitting smoking.
And while New Year’s resolutions are an excellent opportunity to “create meaningful change in our lives”, Sarah Doyle of The Better Life Project believes we need to focus on quality over quantity to get the best results.
The Bray-based coach spoke to the Sunday World about the most effective ways to maintain resolutions this January.
She explained that people tend to overwhelm themselves when setting New Year’s resolutions as they try (and often fail) to change everything at once.
“Goal setting, whether in the form of a New Year’s resolution or not, is an incredibly complex process that we will get better at the more we practice it,” Sarah said.
“Sometimes with resolutions, we make them sound too sexy and they become too far-fetched then.
“An individual will be very tempted to change everything because, ‘Sure, why not? I’m doing one thing; I might as well do it all’. It just doesn’t work like that.
“Our brain is going to become really overwhelmed, really tired, anxious or stressed if we’re trying to change 45 different things and we need to do it in the first two weeks of January. It will shut down and go into survival mode on you.
“But if you can turn around to your brain and say, ‘We’ve had a really tough few years. How about we focus on changing one small habit which will be instead of going home and turning on the TV as soon as I’ve had my dinner, I’m going to go outside for a ten-minute walk. If we can smash three ten-minute walks this week, we’ll increase it to three 20-minute walks next week’, your brain is going to go, ‘That sounds manageable; I can do that.’
“And when you do it, and you do it successfully, that success will breed confidence and that confidence will breed competence and you’re going to go, ‘I can do this’.”
She continued: “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to tell your brain, ‘We can do this’ and create meaningful change in your life.
“Don’t think that you need to take these huge grandiose steps in order to do it because you absolutely don’t. You just need to focus on one small thing consistently every single day.
“When you look at someone who’s trying to change ten things next to someone who’s trying to change one thing, the person who’s only focusing on one thing is far more likely to succeed because they’re putting all their available energy into that one thing.”
Sarah said that consistency is the greatest tool when it comes to succeeding with your New Year’s resolutions.
“A lot of resolutions that I see are people wanting to get the most out of their life, to become more sociable, wanting to increase their confidence.
“Sometimes we think we need to do a lot to feel a little better, and we don’t. We just need to do a little bit. If you want to feel a little better, do a little bit every single day. Consistency is so important.
“Consistency sounds boring – it's not glamorous and it’s not a manifestation buzzword. It’s just ‘do it every day’. Deliberate action and repeated effort, constantly. Do it until you don’t know that you’re doing it anymore.”
The mum-of-two is hosting an “inspiring, empowering, and uplifting” evening event, Believe, at the beginning of January where she will look at “common self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviours" when it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions.
“I really do believe that human beings are capable of some pretty spectacular things but I’ve seen first-hand how much we can get in our own way,” she shared.
“I wanted to create a space where women could learn evidence-based strategies that they could implement in their own lives so that they can achieve their goals.
“That’s what Believe is all about. It’s about being able to understand how we can increase our self-belief and walk away genuinely feeling like we have that last piece of the puzzle needed to accomplish our goals.”
Believe takes place at the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire at 7pm on Thursday, January 5.
Tickets start at €54.23 and can be purchased here.