Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
How to Make Your Resolutions Stick This Year
The New Year is upon us, which means new beginnings, a new start, and a new chapter in our lives. This is why so many people create resolutions to kick off the New Year. It’s a great opportunity for people to eliminate bad habits and to establish new routines that will help them grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Of course there’s always the fact that resolutions are easier to make than maintain.
I always notice a difference at the gym the first week of January. Treadmills are hard to come by and there isn’t a parking space in sight! Then comes February and many people have abandoned their resolutions and settled back into their old habits of going straight home after work. So how do we stick to our New Year’s resolutions?
Choose realistic and measurable goals
This year, strive to make goal oriented and measurable resolutions that focus on the process instead of the end result. Instead of selecting some unachievable and ambiguous goal, focus on something realistic that you can set your mind to. For example, you may strive to lose 10 pounds this year so by reducing portion sizes of foods you commonly eat or even increasing your exercise to 3 times per week,which are realistic things you can stick to. Choosing something that is achievable gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to get to that end result over the course of the year.
Pick one resolution
Many people often have a large list of things they want to change all at once, but this often becomes stressful and unmanageable. Instead, focus all your energy into one specific resolution this year instead of stressing yourself out among a number of different goals.
Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail. Altering your normal behaviors dramatically is a sure way to derail your steps toward your goal. Instead, you should try to focus on small steps that will help you to reach your larger goal. If you decide you want to run a marathon this year, start out by going out for a run around your neighborhood a few times a week. It may seem like a slow start at first, but by making the small changes first will increase the likelihood you will succeed at achieving your long-term goal.
Don’t let small setbacks bring you down
One bad day doesn’t make you a failure. Setbacks and unforeseen circumstances happen all the time. Encountering a set back is another main reason why many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. Instead of viewing a relapse or setback as a failure, view it as a learning opportunity. Maybe understanding what triggered the relapse will help you to avoid it from happening again.
Remember that changes take time
The habits that you are trying to resolve are ones that you have likely been doing for years, so how can you expect them to change in a few weeks? Although a behavioral change may take longer than you would like, making a commitment to change and sticking to it will help you to be successful in the end.
Get support from family and friends
You have probably heard this a million times, but having a solid support system to keep you accountable and stay motivated actually works! If you explain your goals to family members and ask them to help you meet them, you are actually more likely to stay on track! If your goal is to exercise more, get your family involved as well!