Setting New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition that offers us the hope of a fresh start and the momentum to make changes. Unfortunately, it would seem that the tradition also involves the extreme let down of not achieving our goals. According to research done at the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
Here are some of my tips for setting and reaching your New Year’s resolutions.
- Write down your goals
Think about it like this, have you ever went to the grocery store without a list? If you have, I’m sure you found it a bit chaotic. You’re racking your brain trying to think of what you need and what you already have in your pantry or refrigerator. When you have a list you feel more directed, you save time and you are less likely to throw junk food in your cart.
The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline. Steve Smith
2. Tackle small goals daily
After you have written down your goals, the odds are pretty good that they are pretty general and that you may be trying to change too many habits at once. This can easily lead to frustration which will diminish your initial enthusiasm.
If your goal is to lose 30lbs., this is a good BIG goal, but to accomplish that you need to break it down into smaller goals you can focus on everyday.
For example, some smaller goals could be to exercise 30 minutes 3 times a week and to drink more water. Nail those habits for the month of January then revise them in February to include eating more fiber rich foods everyday and exercising 4 days a week.
The 1st few weeks and months you will meet with resistance. This is normal. But you will get to the point where it doesn’t take as much effort to make these healthy choices.
If motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. Jim Ryan
3. Practice positive self talk
Expect there to be slip ups. How you talk to yourself in your mind during those moments can make or break your New Year’s resolutions. Simply changing the tone of your inner dialogue can bring about so many positive changes in your life.
For instance, if you miss a day at the gym, try to catch yourself being overly critical and challenge those inner voices that say, “you are lazy, I knew you couldn’t do this, it’s pointless so you might as well give up.” Instead, choose to be your biggest supporter by talking yourself through those negative voices with these types of thoughts: “it’s okay you missed one day, but you will get the next workout. Your health and fitness goals are important to you. I believe in you.”
This is an area that I constantly have to be on my guard. I’ve found that writing out positive statements in my journal and rereading them or positing them in places where I will see them daily has really helped.
Fear is what stops you…courage is what keeps you going.
4. Bribe yourself fit
Even with the enthusiasm that comes with setting New Year’s resolutions there is some fear and self doubt that arises. It’s important to make it light. Just because it is difficult, especially at first, this doesn’t have to mean it can’t be fun.
One idea is to make a money jar or get yourself a piggy band and put a quarter in for every small win you make toward being healthy during the day. Reward yourself when you decide that instead of watching 2 hours of TV you will only watch only one hour and walk the other hour. Reward yourself for eating some healthy evening snack instead of a big bowl of ice cream. Reward yourself for talking yourself through a slip up. You get the idea…
Another idea is to make a friendly wager with coworkers or friends toward some type of health/fitness goals.
The important thing that I want you to get is to lock into the moment when you make healthy choices, no matter how small, and appreciate them. Compliment yourself and recognize your progress along the way.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
I’m not suggesting that you have to kick your unhealthy friends to the curb, but you do need to start finding active friends who will inspire and challenge you.
It’s never too late to become what you might have been. George Eliot