How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Last All Year
New Year’s resolutions – don’t make promises you can’t keep. Follow these tips to make better resolutions so you can get the results you want this year.
Do you remember the New Year’s resolutions you made last year? Looking back, how did it go? Did you accomplish all you set out to do? Or did you start the year out strong then fall back into old patterns and now you’re making the same resolutions again this year?
Making resolutions is the easy part. Making them stick is what’s hard because you have to do things differently. It takes time to undo a bad habit, which is why repetition is so important. Here are seven tips to help you achieve your goals in the new year.
Limit Your Resolutions
It’s great to be ambitious, but if you try to tackle too many changes at once, you could be setting yourself up for defeat. Making resolutions is the easy part – making them stick is what’s hard because you have to do things differently.
It takes time to undo a bad habit, which is why repetition is so important. But it’s a lot easier to repeat a small, relatively easy task than one that seems positively Herculean.
If you’re like most people, you probably vowed to eat healthier and exercise more, and there are great goals to have! However, “Eat healthier” is too vague. Eat what? How much? Set specific goals, such as “Eat one extra serving of vegetables five days a week.” The more specific the goal, the easier it is to stay focused.
Chipping bad habits away doesn’t happen overnight, so even small improvements are meaningful. For example, if you want to exercise more, don’t go from three days of walking to seven days of running and strength training. Start by adding one day of aerobic exercise or strength training per week.
Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve
If you set unachievable goals for yourself, you may be at risk of feeling discouraged. When goals are set the right way, mind and body will work together to help you achieve the things you want.
If you’ve never brought your lunch to work, it’s unlikely you’ll suddenly start doing it every day. Set a reasonable goal, such as “I’m going to bring my lunch to work twice a week.” That way at the end of the week it’s easy to determine if you’ve met your goal or not.
Set Yourself Up for Success
In order to achieve your goals, you have to figure out what’s getting in the way of your progress. Find out why you’re not doing what you plan to do, and how you can make it easier. It’s easy to say you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables, but it’s hard to do if you don’t have any at home.
Make it easy for yourself and go further. Try keeping a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter to remind you that fruit makes a great snack, stock up on frozen fruit to add to protein shakes or keep cut up veggies handy in the refrigerator where you’ll see them every time you look for something to munch on.
You don’t have to do this alone! Having a support system can help you stay accountable and motivated. Share your progress with your friends and family. You may even inspire them to join you in your journey to a healthier you.
Celebrate Your Progress
Reward yourself when you hit certain milestones. For example, when you hit your healthy weight goal or achieve your exercise goals, treat yourself to a massage.
On the flip side, don’t beat yourself up if you made a misstep. Maybe you didn’t exercise as much as you planned or eat as carefully as you intended. But if you’re still doing better now than you were the year before, maybe it’s because you managed to chip away at a few bad habits.
Remember: It's not about crossing to the finish line, it's the journey along the way. The little changes in the way you do things every single day can really add up. And you can continue to build on these small successes throughout the year.
Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.