The time of year (the beginning) is upon us once again when we resolve to do better in the year to come. The New Year can be a motivating time to make healthy lifestyle changes. And yet, New Year’s resolutions are plagued by a stigma of short-term success that often wanes before winter ends. When it comes to resolutions, why are we so shortsighted?
It seems that the social pressure for setting goals, rather than the more intrinsic origin, results in a whole lot of halfhearted and incomplete resolutions. Whether you’re simply resolving “to be more physically active,” for instance, or setting a concrete goal “to lose 30lbs,” it’s not enough to simply state it to yourself and your friends at a holiday dinner or New Year’s Eve party! Instead, take one step further to make your resolutions stick!
Make a plan! This doesn’t have to be some elaborate process. Rather, it should fit with your style of doing things. If you prefer to scribble your notes on paper and keep it folded in your wallet all year, go with that. If you’re a techie, there is no end to the list of apps and tools for tracking such things. Bottom line, by building structure around your resolution and identifying some detailed actions to get you there, you can optimize your likelihood for success. Think about what needs to happen for you to achieve your goal. What actions must you take? By when? Try putting them in sequence so you know what comes first, second, third, etc. At all times, be as detailed and specific as possible. If your resolution lends itself to it, consider setting short-term achievement milestones throughout the year. Use your calendar or task manager to provide structure and cues, consistently reminding you of your plan.
If you need some extra motivation, vow that you WILL NOT set the same resolution next year. These things have a disconcerting track record of repetition. Make the extra effort to harness the power of the New Year for improving your health and your life. You can do it!