The coming of the New Year brings wishes for health, happiness, prosperity, and often a resolution to be a better version of ourselves. The majority of New Year’s resolutions have to do with dieting or eating healthier (71%), exercising more (65%), or losing weight (54%). Here are some ideas to help make those resolutions last beyond the first week of January.
Plan ahead. Don’t make your resolution on New Year’s Eve. If you wait until the last minute, your thinking is likely to be influenced by the celebration of the moment, rather than the reality of changing your day-to-day routine.
Be realistic. Resolving never to eat your favorite food again is setting yourself up for failure. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing it with something healthy you enjoy rather than seeing your change in eating habits as a punishment. Breaking goals into manageable chunks is also an essential ingredient for success. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five.
Change one behavior at a time. It may be tempting to aim for an overhaul of your entire lifestyle, but experience shows these things can’t be achieved all at once. Unhealthy behaviors develop over time; replacing them with healthy behaviors also takes time.
Ask for support. Choose those people around you who have shown themselves to be trustworthy, supportive friends. Explain your plans and let them know ways they can help you when the going gets tough.
Track your progress. Each small accomplishment will help keep you motivated. There are dozens of smartphone apps that can assist with tracking and even connect you to a like-minded community via social media. From habit-tracking apps such as Habitify and Coach.me, to fitness aps such MyFitnessPal and Fooducate, an online search for apps for keeping New Year’s resolutions will turn up a wealth of possibilities.
Be patient with yourself. It takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit, and six months for a habit to become a part of your life. Obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day and take one day at a time.