New Year, New You. How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Successful.

The Top 10 Most Common Broken Resolutions, in no particular order:

  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink Less

Sounds about right.  Additionally, sounds pretty challenging and daunting! *No time to read the full article?  Skip to the bottom for hands on advice.

A new year always signifies a fresh start, an opportunity to set right the things that may have gotten away from you over the year.  The psychological motivation of the New Year can be beneficial, but sometimes the changes we try to implement are too lofty.  Consider that for several weeks prior to New Years Day you may have been running around incorporating extra errands and tasks into your routine, preparing for winter holidays, and that you probably had an extra dessert or two somewhere along the line.  Trying to fit everything in, seeing family we don’t always encounter may increase stress levels and decrease sleep.  Now, we have a solid month of atypical and likely unhealthier behaviors than usual, and we try to set it all straight on New Year’s Day.  Most of us fail or give up because we have chosen something too large to tackle in one day, and we are just plain ol’ exhausted.  After we tarnish the fresh start, we usually abandon the task and another New Year resolution ends in failure.  So.  How do we take advantage of the fresh start of the New Year to motivate us to make some preferred changes without further overwhelming ourselves?  Here are some basic, simple guidelines to have your resolutions be clear, important, and manageable while leaving you feeling successful. 

*Tips to make your resolutions successful:
TIP #1Layer it in!  Don’t try to go from zero to sixty.  When choosing your resolution, your plan to achieve the goal has a greater chance of success if you build up over a few weeks instead of discontinue or creating a new behavior overnight.  For example, if weigh loss is on your list, break up the goal in to small, manageable benchmarks. 
NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: I want to lose 20 poundsNEW YEARS GOAL: Aim to lose 1 pound a week for 20 weeks. (If one week doesn’t find you down a whole pound, you are more likely to try to make it up the following week).  Avoid the term diet and incorporate changes you can adopt for the rest of your life.  Moderation helps!  Always choose steps that make sense for you.  The following are just examples.     Step 1 – Focus on eliminating desserts 5 out of 7 days of the week.  Even 2 days out of 7 if that seems more manageable.     Step 2 – Eat a non-grain based breakfast 5-7 days out of the week.

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: I want to quit smokingNEW YEARS GOAL: Smoke less and eventually, not at all.     Step 1 – Visit (The American Lung Association website) for tips and strategies.     Step 2 – Choose your first step and allow a week before you move to the next step     Step 3 – Implement your strategy and remember that it doesn’t have to be all or              nothing.  Smoking less is always a win.
TIP #2Account for a preparation phase.  If you want to encourage yourself to add a particular activity to your routine, avoid forcing yourself to do the activity January 1-7, realize this doesn’t work, and give up as the demand is too stressful and exhausting.  Build in a warm up that allows you to feel good about the steps you are making.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: I want to get myself to yogaNEWS YEARS GOAL: Gather more information about yoga and see if it will work for me     Step 1 – Make a list of yoga studios in your area of home and work and think about which are most convenient to your schedule.  Compare prices, instructors, level and call ahead to see if the studio offers a free first class or trial period.      Step 2 – Choose a convenient time and location     Step 3 – Go to yoga (This may be mid-January, and that’s OK!)
Going in the right direction is always a win, not a failure.  If you slip back to old habits one day, don’t throw in the towel.   Lifestyle changes are challenging and we can’t expect them to take hold overnight.  Allow yourself “off” days and keep moving in the right direction.  Commit to commit, if nothing else, and have a healthier 2017!

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