5 Tips for Sticking with Your New Year's Resolutions
Updated: Jan 23
Happy New Year to everyone! Being that it's January, many of us are making New Year's resolutions. We have good intentions to get healthier, get more sleep, eat better, spend less, or save more. We start the year all fired up, but end up not sticking with these goals for one reason or another. I want to talk about some ways to help you keep your resolutions so you stick with them and achieve your goals in 2019!
Start with your "Why"
If you're going to stick with any new habit you have to be clear with yourself about why you're doing it. Do you want to have more energy? Feel more rested? Not feel so stressed about money? Whatever your reasons are, write them down and review them daily to keep your focus all year long. Refer back to it when times get tough and you feel like quitting. This exercise can also help you see what your priorities are. As you think about your motivation to change you may see that some resolutions just aren't as important to you as others. Choose a few and start there.
Get specific and make a plan
Be specific in what your goal is so you have a clear idea of what you're working towards. If you're not clear, it will be difficult to come up with a plan, track progress or know if you've achieved what you set out to do. A goal of "I want to lose 20 pounds by June" is more specific than "I want to lose weight." If your goal is a big one, break it up into smaller, more easily attainable goals to keep from feeling overwhelmed. One example of this that I've experienced was wanting to start an exercise routine, namely, running. I was not a runner and never had been so I chose a program called Couch to 5K that broke up the training into 9 weeks. Each week more time and distance were added to the workouts until I was able to run for 30 minutes at a time. You'd be surprised what you can do when you break up big goals into small, actionable chunks.
Visualize the results
Close your eyes and imagine reaching your goal. How would you feel? What would your life be like? Visualization can be a powerful force when you're trying to make changes. When we imagine our success, our brain responds in much the same way as if we are truly living the experience. This practice activates the brain regions involved in memory, motor function, and planning and can increase your belief in yourself and your ability to succeed. Practice visualization on a daily basis and see how it changes your perceptions.
Adjust for obstacles
Making long term change isn't easy. Recognize that daily life is going to get in the way and you're going to be thrown off track at some point. Be gentle with yourself, know that you're doing the best you can and make an effort to get back on track. One way to deal with obstacles is to have a plan for how you'll deal with them before they happen. This way you're not making decisions when you're feeling frustrated or discouraged. Look ahead to the coming week or month. Do you see any potential events that might throw you off track? For example, if your resolution is to eat healthier this year and you see a busy week ahead where you might be likely to get takeout, try meal planning or meal prep before the week starts so you'll have healthy food ready to go.
Get support and inspiration
Having the support of others who are trying to achieve the same thing can help you to be successful because they understand what you're going through, can support you when it gets difficult and be your personal cheerleaders! Join online groups or tell supportive family and friends what your goals are so they can help you, encourage you and keep you accountable. Another way to keep the momentum going is to find people who have done what you're trying to do. Read biographies, blogs, or listen to podcasts and audiobooks and get inspired by other peoples' journeys.
In this new year many of us are making resolutions and trying to improve our lives. Making lasting change is hard work but worth it when you finally achieve your goal! If you know why and what you're trying to achieve, take steps to adjust when life gets in the way, and seek support from others you'll be more likely to stick with it. Good luck and Happy New Year to you all!
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