The ball has dropped, the bells have rung and we’ve found ourselves at the threshold of a brand spanking new year. It can be a giddy time, can’t it? We can shed off the past and reinvent ourselves. Our brains go into overdrive; our ambitions take front and center. We energetically and most emphatically decide to take the bull by the horns and decide the time to make changes has arrived. The resolution has come a’ knocking.
Have you come up with some New Year’s resolutions yet? Have you already industriously embarked upon them? You’re not alone. According to the February 2013 issue of Eating Well magazine, 61% of adult in America have joined you. Does your resolution, or one of them, revolve around diet weight management? Eating Well also reports that a whopping one-third of people’s do.
But here’s the question: how many New Year’s resolutions have you made over the years? If you’re like me, more than a few. So here’s another query: how many of those did you keep long term? If you’re like most, likely not many. We may have all the best intentions, but things don’t always go as planned.
So, I aim to help out. Change can be hard and sustaining it can be even more difficult. But there are some things that we can do to make it easier. Here are some tips:
You don’t have to make every change overnight. Pick a few things and start there. Then add more along the way.
Write down your goals and be very specific. Writing things down is a very successful tool. Being specific helps keep us accountable. You need to state what, where, when and how. Why is also important. The “why” is your long term goal. It may be something like, “I want to lose ten pounds.” Since you’re not going to go to sleep one night and wake up ten pounds lighter the next day, you need to detail the steps that you’re going to take to reach that goal. I liken these to a road map. Most of us wouldn’t get in the car on the west coast and drive to the east coast without a plan. Our resolutions need their own road maps. They guide us.
Here’s an example of a specific plan of action: “I’m going to walk on the treadmill Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings for 60 minutes at a rate of 3.5 mph at an incline of 3.”
On a scale of one to ten, you want to have a confidence level of seven or above that you will make that plan of action. If it’s less than seven, rework the goal.
Stretch yourself a bit, but don’t greatly overreach. If you’re not exercising at all now, it’s not likely that you will start exercising for an hour most days of the week. Just start somewhere and build from there.
Identify the barriers in your way and come up with a plan to circumvent them.
Reach out to those who will support you.
Reward yourself when you meet your goals. I would not recommend that to be of a food nature and it doesn’t have to be something big.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make your goal. Be kind to yourself. We’re human and we’re going to have setbacks. Just figure out what caused it and determine a way to get around it. Get back on that horse and gallop away.
Sustaining change long-term can be hard. But it’s definitely not impossible. By employing a good strategy and utilizing the tips above, your arsenal is strong and powerful. So, ready, set and go!
Sources: Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Eating Well Magazine