The beginning of a New Year is an exciting time full of fresh ideas, energy, and resolutions. Although we have the best of intensions, however, the problem with resolutions is that they are often designed to fail since they commonly involve drastic, unrealistic habit change. Here are some simple strategies to not only start the year off on the right foot, but to stay on the path to sustainable improvement and achievable results.
One Thing at a Time
Trying to accomplish several goals at once can quickly become overwhelming and result in all of them crashing a burning. Instead, it’s best to set yourself up for success by focusing on one objective at a time. How do you pick? Take stock of your aspirations, and pick the one that you are most passionate about, or the one that will most positively affect your health — like quitting smoking, eating more greens, or exercising regularly.
Set Specific Goals
You want to do good in your community? That’s great! But that’s a very vague goal that won’t get you anywhere. Get specific, such as deciding to volunteer once a week at your neighborhood food pantry. Want to lose weight? Awesome! Pick an exact amount you want to lose and write out the steps you will take to achieve it.
Add, Don’t Subtract
It’s a lot easier to add good things to our life rather than take something away. For example, adding deliciously healthy smoothies to our daily routine is a pleasure — while cutting out all sugar from our diet can be a pain. That’s because resolutions that don’t require willpower are much easier to achieve. So resolving to add more greens to your meals, walk more, read more, or adding any other positive pursuit into the mix, is more attainable than focusing on trying to stop doing something.
Be a Tortoise, Not a Hare
Slow and steady wins the race. Many small steps in the right direction will get you to your goal, and gradual change is achievable while drastic change is not usually sustainable. You want to exercise five times a week instead of once a month? Start with twice a week in January, move to three times a week in February, and gradually increase your levels until you reach your goal. In this way, you can build new habits that you can practically incorporate into your routine and make a normal part of your life.
Break Down Bad Habits
If your resolution is to stop a bad habit, it’s helpful to stop and think about if there’s a way to take that habit and turn it into a healthier one. For example, if you enjoy taking a break every afternoon to drink a soda and eat potato chips, keep the habitual break and substitute water for the soda. Hate water? Add some lemon or Organic Berry Power™ Powder to it! After you’ve gradually given up the soda, instead of chips, grab a handful of nuts, some carrot sticks, or fruit. After a while, your bad habit will transform into a good one!
Even Olympic athletes have a bad day now and then. If you wanted to exercise three times a week and you only made it to the gym once, don’t fret. Be grateful for what you were able to do, and resolve to do better next week. Keep on stepping in the right direction, and even if you trip and take a step or two backward, don’t dwell on missteps. Give yourself grace, keep a positive attitude, keep your eyes on the prize, and you’ll stay motivated to get there.
Don’t Go It Alone
Asking for support and getting family and friends on board with your goal makes it way easier to accomplish. You might have a neighbor or friend that’s up for going for a morning walk with you three times a week. Ask your partner or spouse to stop bringing unhealthy food home from the store. Don’t be shy! Speak up — sometimes it takes a village to help us reach our goals.