Oh, resolutions. Every year, well-meaning people resolve to get healthy, learn a new skill, bike more, and eat more vegetables or less sugar—and, generally, those big plans fade within a month. Why is it such a challenge to stick with new healthy goals? Some people bite off more than they can chew, aren’t realistic, or are easily discouraged. Some think of resolutions as one-time-only plans or wishes instead of thinking about ways to create small positive changes that can last the entire year. This time around, here’s how you can set goals that spark positive steps toward a happier, healthier you:
Make goals specific
Sometimes, resolutions don’t last because they are just too big, and not detailed enough. To be effective, resolutions have to be specific and measurable. Don’t start off by saying that you will go completely vegan on January 1st, for example. If you want to eat healthier, try developing smaller, achievable goals, like eating one more piece of fruit every day, buying a new piece of produce to try out every week or two, or eating a vegetable every night with dinner.
Make goals realistic
Some resolutions just aren’t feasible. Be honest with yourself. You may want to make a scratch-cooked meal four nights a week, but it may not be the perfect goal for you if you are constantly traveling for work. You want to be able to realistically achieve your goals, because obtaining goals creates positive energy. If you are not honest with yourself about the type of goals that may work best for you, you risk getting down on yourself.
Positive thinking certainly goes a long way to motivate you to do what’s required. Try not to put such a negative spin on the positive developments in your life, like getting healthier or exercising.
Start with small goals before you go big
Let’s say you really want to try yoga, running, or biking. While you may be motivated and excited, I encourage you to just slow down. Don’t commit yourself to going to the studio or hitting the road five times a week right off the bat. Start by trying to fit your goal activity in just once a week. If you like what you’re doing and can meet your once-a-week goal, add in another day or two each week.
Focus on one goal (at a time)
When you try to take on many goals at once, you risk spreading your energy and focus thin. In the same way that focusing on one task at a time is more effective, so is focusing on one goal at a time. If you have multiple goals that you want to achieve, pick one to focus on first and then pick an action you can do each day to work towards it. When your first goal is completed, focus on the next goal.
Make sure your goals are your own
When you are setting your goals, make sure they are personalized for the person you are. Don't do it for your family, don't do it for Heather or Tim, or the neighbours across the street - don't do it for anybody but yourself! Once you've figured out your resolutions, write them down and stick them somewhere you'll regularly look. This kind of visual reminder will help the goal stay on your mind, so you're less likely to forget about it as the year goes on.
If you are setting yourself a resolution or two, I wish you the best of luck, and all the best in 2016!
[Image Credit: Skitter Photo / StockSnap]
Posted on January 15, 2016 in My Healthy Ways by Barbara Prudhomme