New Year's Resolutions Don't Work. Here's What Does...

By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick and Founder of Wild Women On Top 

I’ve just realised my New Year’s resolutions always fail. Nearly every single year since I was allowed out in the dark, I’ve raised my glass of bubbles (or tea, or tequila) at midnight on 31 December and wished for a fitter, slimmer, more fun version of myself. 

Alas, I’m not a genie, and my wishes did not come true. 

That’s not to say I haven’t, at various thrilling stages of my life, felt fitter, slimmer and more fun. But it wasn’t the promise of a new year that motivated me. 

The term ‘wanderlust’ originates from the German words ‘wandern’ (to hike) and ‘lust’ (desire). I’ve discovered that when I connect to my wanderlust, I magically get fitter, healthier and happier. 

Research shows that a whopping 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. Some experts say it’s because we set the bar too high. Some say we set it too low. I think it’s because our resolutions are inherently flawed, and we should ditch them completely. 

That’s not to say we shouldn’t reflect on the past year, and make the most of the new year and all the wonder it brings. It’s a time to review, reset and rejuvenate yourself, and decide what, if anything, you want to change. It’s an opportunity to reflect on that magic something that makes you feel joyful, connected, fulfilled and exhilarated.

For me, that magic something is wanderlust. 

The term ‘wanderlust’ originates from the German words ‘wandern’ (to hike) and ‘lust’ (desire). I’ve discovered that when I connect to my wanderlust, I magically get fitter, healthier and happier. 

The desire to hike is in our DNA and incredibly, when we connect with it, we move more and have more fun. This promotes sustained behavioural change, especially when you do it with friends and family. A wanderlust adventure gives us our purpose, people and plan – the three things we need to change our habits. Any kind of active adventure in nature will do the trick, but the bigger and scarier, the better, if you want results. 

It takes a whole lot more than raising your glass of bubbles at midnight on 31st December to change habits. 

Last week a trip to Ningaloo Reef popped up in my Facebook feed and it looked so stunning I messaged a friend and we signed up. After I’d committed, I read the fine print and discovered it was a surf ski adventure… and I don’t know how to surf ski. Yet. But by May, I will. 

I’m so scared of drowning or being eaten by a great white shark that I’ll be training madly for the next four months. By the time I get there, I will have learned a new skill, got fitter and healthier, conquered my fear of the ocean and made new friends. Exploring the breathtaking reef is just the cherry on top! 

It takes a whole lot more than raising your glass of bubbles at midnight on 31st December to change habits. If you really want to get fitter, healthier and happier, you must connect with your wanderlust, leap outside your comfort zone and take on an exhilarating physical challenge that is so scary you’re compelled to train for it. 

According to psychotherapist Rachel Weinstein, “if you truly want to achieve a resolution, set one that’s easy to tackle from day one. Better yet, find one you can scale up to a more difficult resolution.” A wanderlust adventure does just that. 

If you want to change your life and find a happy new you in 2018, try this: 

January 1: Find a wanderlust adventure

Settle on your dream wild adventure now. Be brave. Go for something that seems ridiculously OVER THE TOP. Something that scares you every time you think about it. Something that will take your breath away, both physically and mentally. It might be trekking to Everest Base Camp, climbing Mt Kosciusko, kayaking with dolphins, hiking Coastrek or swimming the Rottnest Channel. 

January 2: Invite your friends and family to join you

It’s much more fun doing it with goal buddies and you’ll be amazed at how many people will want to join you. Everybody wants to be healthier and happier. Just keep asking until you find somebody who wants the same thing as you. If you can’t find a buddy, jump onto the Wild Adventures Community on Facebook and find someone on there who is interested. If you still can’t find anyone, go by yourself. You’ll meet people on the journey. 

January 3: Commit to the goal

That means paying a deposit, purchasing airfares and blocking the dates in the diary. Dump the excuses. Tell your friends and family this is happening and it’s good for you and them. It’s guaranteed to make you happier and healthier than you’ve ever been. Just do it. You’ll be so glad you did. 

January 4: Make a plan

Start training. Write your training dates in your diary. You’ll need to do something towards your wanderlust adventure EVERY day. It doesn’t have to be massive. This might be eating more vegies, going for a hike, getting to bed earlier, doing yoga, cooking some nutritious meals, doing a weekend mini adventure or taking a buddy or kid for a bike ride. 

January 5 onwards: Follow the plan

Know that you’ll get it wrong sometimes but with a visual record of achievement, not only will your family help encourage you but you’ll also be more inclined to do it. Remember, frequency is more important than intensity. So, don’t worry about HIIT, running or doing things that hurt. Just start by doing the things you love at a low intensity regularly and you’ll be amazed how much you improve. You’ll start to feel fabulous in no time. 

Need a wanderlust goal? Join us in Sydney, Melbourne or Sunshine Coast for a magical 30km or 60km Team Trekking Challenge. Start your journey. 

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