Ringing in the New Year can be stressful, particularly if you feel you have some resolutions to make. Some of you plan to quit smoking, others resolve to get their finances in order, still more of us wish to lose weight and be healthier.
If you’re like most of us, these New Year’s resolutions only stick around for a couple of weeks. By then, many of us have abandoned new patterns and have slipped back into our old ones like a comfortable pair of sneakers. We may know that it’s wrong to wear them, but they feel so good!
How can we make these positive life changes……and stick to them longer than the first week in January? Studies show that in order for habits to become permanent, we must stick with them for at least 21 days. When you are first starting out, this almost-month-long period of time can seem like an eternity. Here are some simple tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, and making them work for you:
- Set big goals
This is the time! You’re not getting any younger—if you want to set a goal for marathon completion, put on your shoes and get moving…on January 1st. With enough perseverance, encouragement, and positive self talk, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Surround yourself with support, be accountable to those you love, and reach for your biggest aspirations.
- Break down those big dreams into small steps
If you’ve never run a day in your life, it’s a mistake to think you can do anything more than walking/running a few blocks at a time during your first few sessions. If your resolution is to learn to cook better, you don’t begin with a complicated dish when first entering the kitchen. Breaking down your goals into small, achievable steps will keep you moving forward in a positive direction. With each small success, you’ll be fueling your motivation for more significant gains.
- Understand your motivations for change
Until you pinpoint the reason you need to change, and muster enough motivation to do so, you are unlikely to change your habits. Smoking might be pleasurable in and of itself, but the long term result and damage to the body should be in the forefront of your mind as you take steps to quit. If you have children, use them as your motivation to adopt better habits, both as an example to them and for the purpose of being around for those important milestones in their lives. Plus, you are worth every positive change you wish to make!
- Commit to the process
There will be gains, there will be losses; you have to be willing to see this goal through for the long haul. If your goal is to lose weight, for instance, you might slip up and have an extra tasty dessert that exceeds your calorie limit for the day. All is not a loss; start clean the next day and go from there. Adopting a different way of eating such as keto will not be an instantaneous process; you learn as you go, and there are plenty of resources out there to help you stay on the keto pathway. There are even a plethora of keto diet supplements that can help support your efforts and get you further, faster. Just how successful do you want to be?
- Reward yourself periodically
Do not wait until mile 26 to reward yourself for all of your hard work—-many health goals are incremental, and should be done in stages to protect the body. After you break your first ten mile run, go out and buy yourself a new pair of shoes, or some new workout wear to celebrate. Reward yourself for your ongoing efforts, not the end prize that you wish to achieve.
- Learn from past mistakes
Sure, that pumpkin-spiced, chocolate covered cheesecake with caramel frosting tasted good, but what did it do for your mental process? Did you see the scale move in an undesirable direction as a result of this recent indulgence? Learn from the past, and refuse to beat yourself up over little mistakes. Have some compassion for your process, and keep plodding forward!
- Be grateful for the journey
In accomplishing any goal, you inevitably learn about yourself. Be grateful for the process, the destination, and all of the stops along the way. Perhaps your journey can inspire others to reach for and attain their goals along the way as well. Gratitude will determine your latitude, and it puts you in a frame of mind to achieve even more of your New Year’s resolutions. Happy “You” Year!