A 6-Step Plan to Help You Stay on Track with New Year’s Resolutions

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With the best of intentions, many of us start off the New Year with a commitment to improve our body, health and lifestyle. Whether that means eating healthier, exercising more, sleeping better, spending more quality time with loved ones, or making time for some much needed self care, we start January 1st with the determination to make this year our best one yet. We may have declared it out loud or silently said it to ourselves, but either way, this was the year we’d finally create that body, health and lifestyle we want most.

How can you ensure success and stay on track with New Year’s resolutions this year? Let’s create some strategies so you can unleash that lean, fit, energetic, vibrant and confident self you’re meant to be. 

1. The first step is figuring out what it is that you want. While it sounds simple, here’s what happens. Without that clear vision, your goals are fuzzy and they’re more difficult to achieve. For example, you may have a goal like, “I want to feel better” or, “I want to lose weight,” but that’s as general as saying, “I want a new relationship.” A new relationship can mean just about anything with just about anyone and without a clear vision, you may not be happy with what you attract and the results you receive.

Instead, if you were more specific and created some criteria around the type of relationship you wanted to attract, along with the qualities and characteristics you were looking for in this person, you’d have a clearer picture in your mind. Based on that, you’d be more likely to find those that meet your criteria. It’s the same with weight loss, health and fitness success. With a crystal clear vision of who you’d be and how you’d look and feel with those changes made, it’s easier to see that steps you’d need to take in order to make that vision a reality.

So what’s next?

2. Once you have a clear vision, the next step is determining the greatest obstacle that’s preventing you from achieving your goal. Is the idea of regularly following a workout plan, giving up junk food, kicking a sugar habit or preplanning healthy meals and snacks your greatest obstacle? Dig deep and choose the obstacle that seems to be the one that keeps you stuck most often.

3. Now, once you’ve discovered your obstacle, immediately create a strategy to overcome it. For example, if working out regularly is a challenge for you, what would help? Do you need accountability, a gym that’s more convenient, or regular sessions with a personal trainer? Would working out at home serve you better or would working out first thing in the morning ensure it gets done? If so, would laying out your workout clothes the night before serve as a reminder to put them on before leaving your room in the morning?

4. Once you find a strategy that would help you overcome your greatest obstacle, immediately take steps toward implementing it. For example, let’s say your greatest obstacle is your tumultuous love affair with sugar. What’s your strategy to kick the habit? Do you need great tasting low sugar recipes, meal plans or support? Do you need to educate yourself on the damage sugar can cause and how it’s creating physical, mental and emotional wear and tear? Do you need to clear out your cabinets and refrigerator from trigger foods or schedule some sessions with a health expert, nutritionist or Registered Dietitian who can help? This proactive measure and commitment toward change acts as the fuel you need to create those new, healthy habits.

What’s next?

5. Studies find that what we track and measure improves. So with that in mind, come up with a simple system to track your progress, whether that means checking off the days on a calendar, finding a phone app to keep you accountable, or some other method that’ll work well for you. It doesn’t have to be fancy or detailed, just something to keep you focused, on track and impressed with your commitment to move forward.

Here’s another important step worth mentioning…

Creating new, healthy habits takes traits like commitment, dedication and consistency. It takes creating an awareness around what you’re doing that’s not working for you, then overcoming your old, familiar ways for new unfamiliar habits that may at times feel strange and uncomfortable. This isn’t easy and slipping from time to time is inevitable. When you do, please keep this in mind:

6.  We all slip, it’s human and it’s expected. Instead of berating yourself for the slip, make a commitment to treat yourself as you’d treat a friend. For example, if a friend fell off track, with love and with compassion you’d probably encourage her to get back on. You’d let her know it’s normal, expected and you’d make sure she knew you believed in her and that she can do whatever she sets out to do. How about having that same conversation with yourself? How about treating yourself with the same love and compassion that you so easily give to others… and watch your vision slowly and finally become a reality this year.

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    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
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