Every year millions of us set goals at the start of a new year in hopes that a fresh start on day 1 will help us stay motivated to stick to our goals throughout the year. It’s tough making (let alone keeping!) resolutions however motivated you are on January 1st. I am a big fan of thinking of resolutions as small changes towards self-improvement. It’s really tough sticking to a resolution that completely eliminates something from your diet or lifestyle. Going cold turkey is tough, well for me at least; others are really successful at it.
I try to make resolutions that are focused on reducing the frequency of a habit or food in my diet or make a healthy trade-up. A healthy trade-up is basically swapping to a healthier choice instead of cutting something out completely. For example, using 1% milk instead of cream in my coffee. I still get the creamier consistency without the added calories and fat. With these types of goals I have a better chance of sustaining the new habit and I feel better about myself for keeping my goal. Below are the 3 tips I consider when setting a resolution for the New Year:
- Realistic – When setting a goal, health-related or otherwise, it is important to make it something that’s achievable. New Year’s resolutions are notorious for being very ambitious and often abandoned by the end of January. When making your health goals for the New Year make sure your goal is realistic and something you can really envision yourself still doing say in mid-March when all thoughts of the New Year are a distant memory. The more realistic it is, the more likely you’ll achieve it.
- Visible – Write down your goal so it is there in plain sight on the page. It’s easy to create goals (and even easier to break them) if they aren’t written down anywhere. The act of writing down a goal makes it real and holds you that much more accountable for trying to achieve it.
- Shareable – Now that you have written your goal down tell a friend. When setting goals, especially health-related ones, it helps to tell a few others who will be supportive about your goal. This way you build your team of cheerleaders. Old habits die hard for a reason and forming new ones by making conscious changes in your life is tough to do alone. Telling others about your goal holds you accountable for following through and gives you a network to reach out to when you hit a plateau or a rough patch (which you will).
Happy New Year! Good luck on your 2015 New Year’s resolutions!