The New Year is always an inspiration to do better, to be better. So many of us will reflect on the past year and think about what life changing desires we yearn for, many taking on a resolution to improve our health. It can be an overwhelming task to modify long-term habits. As we start to consider healthy New Year’s resolutions, it may be tempting to want to completely change our lifestyle. However, taking on too much sets us up to fail. Being mindful and realistic about our health goals allows us to really focus and make a change. The illusive question is, how do we stay focused to realize our desired New Year’s resolution?
Set Realistic Goals
When setting a resolution goal, make it obtainable, actionable, and measurable. Stick to one goal at a time and don’t overburden yourself taking on too much. To truly dedicate yourself and achieve your resolution, you must be mindful of how you work best. Focus on the baby steps that enable you to achieve your resolution.
- Snack better - Replace processed snacks with fruits and vegetables
- Eat more vegetables – Add a vegetable to each dinner
- Increase workouts – Schedule 3 workout days a week
- Drink more water – Bring a water bottle and set reminders to drink and refill
- Reduce stress – Take uninterrupted, mandatory time alone each day
- Reduce eating out - Pack a lunch 3-4 times per week
- Reduce calories – Replace processed foods with fruits and veggie snacks
- Reduce daily chocolate consumption – Allow chocolate to 3-4 times a week
Set yourself up for success
Set goals that motivate success. Start with small achievable steps and adjust the goal if necessary. It’s great to have high expectations, however staying focused on realistic expectations is the key to success.
An excellent way to stay on track of your resolution is to create a weekly schedule and make necessary adjustments. Create a meal plan to generate a grocery list if the resolution is food related, schedule work out days if your goal is fitness related, creating a schedule helps keep you focused and accountable.
Find a partner
Invite a partner along for this journey to check in on one another, keep each other inspired, share success and struggles, and reach out when you feel less motivated.
Create a way to monitor how you are doing, anticipate setbacks, some frustration or disappointment, but don’t let it completely knock you off track. Dedication and perseverance are critical, celebrate the small steps, progress counts.
The key to success is believing you can obtain your goal. Self-fulfilling prophesy is your friend and your enemy. Allow yourself to expect success and be confident that you can achieve this goal. Be patient and conscientious, and push yourself to focus and keep trying, be kind to yourself as well. It’s hard to stick to New Year’s resolutions.
Stick with it!
Setting a desired resolutions is the easy part, sticking with the goal is the hard part. If you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up and quit altogether. Acknowledge how you can improve and then get right back to pursuing your resolution.
Keep a journal of challenges and victories to help you focus and stay on track. When you struggle and are having a hard time, review it to see how far you've come, the progress you’ve made, and give yourself a little boost confidence to continue.
When changing behaviors long-term, there must be room for grace. There is no way to make these changes without a hiccup. Plan for a reset, just because you skipped the gym one day, did not eat your vegetables, had chocolate, or skipped a workout, this is not a failure. You must focus on the successes you have been having and continue to move forward.
A great way to approach a New Year’s resolution is to take small steps. The key to succeeding in our healthy resolutions is focus. Focus keeps us on track as we work through altering long-term habits to make a change for better, healthier habits.