5 Tips for Reachable Resolutions
There is a reason gyms become crowded at the beginning of January and the lines at health food stores get longer: New Year's Resolutions! There’s also a reason gyms become empty again by February while people also resume eating their usual foods: resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, and over 90% are broken before February 1. The good news is that if we make smarter and more tangible resolutions, we can and will stick with them.
Whether your resolution this year is to be healthier or happier, or to achieve a goal or dream, make it achievable and realistic. Don’t expect too much too quickly or bite off more than you can chew (see what we did there?). Follow the five tips below to successfully accomplish and reap the benefits of your resolution all year long!
- Find YOUR Motivation - Your resolution is going to be with you all year (or even for the rest of your life), so have a reason for doing it. It is much easier to fall off if your reason for making change is superficial. A resolution with a deeper meaning - quitting smoking so you live to see your children grow up; lowering cholesterol to reduce health risks; eating more fruits and vegetables to improve overall health - holds you more accountable and help you succeed. Regardless, make it about you, and have fun with it. If not these two things, what's the point?!
- Be Realistic and Specific - Again, resolutions are hard to keep. Change can be difficult. However if done right, resolutions become habits that are easier to maintain, that is the goal! Having daily feasible mini goals you can achieve will boost your confidence. Start with a specific goal you know you’ll be able to stick with and adjust as you adapt, get better, and gradually achieve. For example resolve to go for a 30 minute walk three times a week after work – not just to hit the gym every day for an hour. Or vow to add one piece of fruit at breakfast daily and one vegetable at lunch - not just to "eat more fruits and veggies".
- Track Your Progress - There is nothing more motivating than seeing yourself change for the better. Conversely, when change doesn't happen quickly or noticeably, it is easy to get frustrated. Thoughts like, "nothing is changing and this is hard, so why am I even doing this," may begin to creep in. This is why keeping track of your progress is key. A simple journal or notebook, or note on your phone or computer can work perfectly. Note whether you accomplished your specific and measurable goal (see #2 above) each day. Did you go for that 30 minute walk? Note it. Did you eat the fruit or that vegetable? Note it. Once you are consistent with the first goal(s) it might be time to add another!
- Experiment and Get Creative - If you do decide on a less specific goal, for example, to hit the gym three times a week, make sure you try different machines or classes when you get bored. If you resolved to eat more fruits and vegetables, consistency might be key to success at first, but eventually try new types of produce you tend to pass by. Switch it up by preparing your favorite vegetables in different ways, such as grilling vs steaming, or by using new herbs and spices. The more creative you get the more fun you will have! After all, it is YOUR resolution so feel free to tweak it along the way...the only rule is to not give up on yourself!
- Reward Yourself - Just not with Food! - For all the hard work you’re putting in, allow yourself some well-deserved R&R. Having a little something to look forward offers extra motivation. If you're working out more than usual, treat yourself to a massage or a new workout shirt. Carve out time to reward yourself with a good book, spend time in the park to relax and enjoy some calm, or buy yourself a small trinket you will enjoy. Rewards can be anything that will make you smile - but should not be foods.
Making resolutions is easy...but sticking to them can be difficult. Remember to make them specific and practical – and that will help you achieve them!