As the new year rolls around, you’ve probably considered a resolution or two to make positive changes in the coming months. Unfortunately, many people abandon these goals within the first few weeks. If this sounds familiar, try out our favorite tips to make it stick, and you’ll feel like a whole new person by next New Year’s Day.
Think Through Your Resolution
First things first: you need to consider what you want to change in your life. It’s important to look into why you want to make this change as well. Did you choose this resolution because it’s what everyone else is doing or genuinely something you hope to achieve? Is it something you’ve wanted to change for a while, or is it a spur-of-the-moment decision? Be sure this resolution is truly something you can get motivated to achieve!
Be Specific With Your Goals
Make your resolution as specific as possible, and it will be easier to stay consistent. If you’re trying to work out more, avoid saying “I will go to the gym more,” and instead opt for the more concrete “I will go to the gym three times a week.” It will give you something to strive for and something measurable to complete.
Change Your Habits With Science
Stopping bad practices can be difficult, but analyzing them can help. There are three components of a habit: a cue, an action, and a reward. The cue is a signal that lets you know to begin the action, and the reward comes from completing it. For example, someone might reach for a soda (the action) after they realize they’re tired (the cue), which can help them feel more alert (the reward). The next time you reach for that soda, think about why you’re grabbing it; if it’s because you’re tired, opt for a healthier action that can produce the same reward, such as drinking unsweetened tea or coffee or going for a brisk walk.
Use Your Emotions to Motivate You
Imagine you’re four weeks into the new year, and you’ve been going to the gym three times each week. As you approach Sunday, though, you tally up your visits for the week and realize you only went twice. You know you should go today, but you weren’t planning on it and aren’t feeling particularly motivated. It’s at points like this when you can give in to your desire to miss your workout just this once or follow through on your resolution. If you don’t work out, it can make it easier to say no in the future, but if you do go, it can make it easier to follow through next time. So, what do you do?
Think about your reason for choosing this goal at the beginning of the new year, and picture yourself living a healthier life in the future. These positive ideas can provide that extra motivation you need to lace up your running shoes.
But Don’t Give Up Over a Few Missteps
Perhaps you had to work late a couple of nights this week, and you couldn’t make it to the gym. This can make it tempting to take a break from your resolution. After all, it is easier to return to your old routine, and you can pick up your workouts in a month or two when things are less hectic. However, you’ve already made progress, and you shouldn’t lose it over a few missed gym visits. Again, think about why you started and focus on your resolution to overcome this roadblock.
If your resolution involves a major change to your diet or fitness routine, schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician before getting started. They can help you determine the safest way to achieve your goals in the new year, suggest modifications depending on your current state of health, and provide advice to encourage you along the way.
Forbes | 7 Habit-Creating Tips To Make Your New Year's Resolution Successful
HuffPost | 5 Starters to a Successful Resolution
American Psychological Association | Making your New Year’s resolution stick
The New York Times | How to Make (and Keep) a New Year's Resolution