The beginning of a new year often is a time for people to reflect on their past year's behavior and to think about making positive lifestyle changes for the upcoming year. Setting goals and measuring progress are an important part of making a resolution. The goals need to be small and attainable throughout the year instead of a large overwhelming goal that can be unachievable. It is important to recognize that steps towards making the change are important and that working towards it are part of the progress. Setting realistic goals makes them more attainable and there is a greater chance of keeping them throughout the year. Here are some suggestions for making resolutions that stick:
Start Small: Setting goals that are realistic will make it easier to stick to. For example, if you are trying to eat healthier, try replacing an item like dessert with something else that is enjoyable, like fruit or yogurt. If your goal is to increase your time at the gym, schedule 3-4 days a week (instead of 7 days). Making a decision to see the changes as positive instead of as a form of punishment will help keep adherence to your goal.
Talk to Family and Friends: Letting your family and friends adds an additional support system to help you stay on track. Joining a group for additional support in reaching your goals may also be helpful. The journey towards reaching your goals will be easier when you have someone to share your successes and struggles with.
Change Behaviors One at a Time: Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones takes time. Working towards changing things one at a time instead of all at once will make it much less intimidating and easier to adhere to.
Don't Beat Yourself Up; it is completely normal to make mistakes and have minor missteps in the journey towards reaching your goal. Understanding that perfection is unattainable and that there will be ups and downs is key to staying focused and on track. to reaching your goal.
Choose a Specific Goal: Planning a specific, concrete, and achievable goal gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to accomplish it and adhere to your goal throughout the year. For example, setting a goal to lose 10 pounds or training for a half-marathon . Taking the steps and evaluating your progress through measuring (pounds lost, miles ran, etc.) allows you to keep on track.
Renew Your Motivation: New Year's resolutions often start out strong and change seems easy. After while, motivation may start to dwindle. When faced with those moments, remind yourself why your are doing this and remember what you have to gain by achieving your goal. Try to find sources of inspiration to keep your motivation level up.
Setting New Year's resolutions and keeping them can be intimidating. Remember to be kind to yourself and allow some flexibility along the way. Celebrate the progress that you have achieved and reflect on how far you have come towards reaching that goal. Choosing the right goal and the process you take to achieve it is key to success. Remember that it is not just the end goal that matters but also the journey that you have gone through to get there.