Many people charge into the New Year with a laundry list of resolutions only to quickly run out of steam, peter out and, by February, resume their normal routines. Here are a few helpful tips for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions and having the best year ever!
Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes people find themselves aiming for an overhaul of their entire lifestyle, and this is simply a recipe for disappointment and guilt. It may be understandable at this time of year when self-improvement is on your mind, but experience shows these things can’t all be achieved at once. The best approach is to focus clearly on one or two of your most important goals.
Change One Behavior at Time
Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.
Set SMART Goals
One of the most important things when it comes to New Year’s resolutions is to make sure that all of the goals you set are SMART goals.
The acronym SMART has several slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition of goal setting:
- S - Specific, significant, stretching
- M - Measurable, meaningful, motivational
- A - Agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
- R - Realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
- T - Time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
Because it’s not specific and not set in measurable terms the goal to "get in shape,” for example, would not pass the SMART test. The goal to “lose 15lbs by the end of March,” however, would. It’s critical that you clearly define what both success and failure look like in measurable terms.
Talk About It
Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of co-workers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.