How To Maintain Your New Year's Resolutions
Every year, we tell ourselves that next year will be better. We will eat cleaner, exercise more, get enough sleep, meditate…the list goes on and on. When the new year comes, we are motivated to shift our habits from eating and drinking our way through the holidays to really honing in on our goals. Unfortunately, this motivation doesn’t always last. Eventually, the concept of ‘starting anew’ wears off and we resort back to our old, unhealthy habits.
But, there are ways around this. Below are some tactics to combat this and help you maintain your New Years Resolutions:
1.) Set realistic goals: it is nearly impossible to shift from everything to nothing (or nothing to everything) overnight. Going cold turkey will most likely lead to burning out and becoming frustrated with potential ‘failure’. Rather than saying you are going to go from having dessert every night to zero nights, find a middle ground where you limit yourself to 2-3 times/week. Then progressively build from there. Remember - it is a marathon, not a sprint.
2.) Cut yourself some slack: with these resolutions, you will not be perfect. If you have one week where you have dessert every day during the week instead of 2-3 times, don’t just throw in the towel - knock it as a downfall for the week, but learn from it and start fresh the next.
3.) Find a how: it is not always enough to figure out what you want to change - you also need to figure out how you will go about these changes. Map and plan it out. Is it your goal to get to the gym 3 times per week? Make sure you block off time (make an appointment with yourself), bring your clothes to work with you if need be, and have a general idea of what you will do at the gym once you get there. Do you want to limit snacking? Figure out a mental trick to prevent yourself from reaching for the first thing you see (the one minute trick - wait a minute before eating something and ask yourself ‘am I hungry or bored?’ ‘ do I need this snack?’ to increase mindfulness).
4.) Set short and long term goals and track progress: if your goal is weight loss, have your final weight loss (say 30 lbs) be your long term goal, but set short term goals that will lead you to that (1-2 lbs per week). This will feel less daunting and keep you focused day to day.
5.) Reward yourself: if you meet a goal, celebrate your success. These successes don’t need to contradict your resolutions (aka does not need to be food or skipping the gym), but give yourself some room to enjoy the things you like. If you hit your goal of making it the gym 3 times per week, buy yourself a new fitness related piece of clothing to get you excited to go back.
6.) Talk about it: the more you make it known, the more you will be likely to stick to it. Use your family and friends as a support system. To make it even more solidified, pair with a buddy and hold each other accountable to each other’s goals.
Happy New Year!
Stephanie Spoto, CSCS