How to Keep your New Years ResolutionsIf you’re like the majority of Americans, you’ve probably made a few New Year’s resolutions just a few short weeks ago. From losing weight to getting organized, spending less/saving more, and enjoying life to the fullest (last year's top four resolutions), we often make grand plans every January. Most of us do it. I did. Did you?
Unfortunately, just 8% of us will be successful, with the vast majority of promises being abandoned by the third week in January – aka: Right Now. Well, I’m here to cheer you on, and offer some suggestions on how to keep going – even though it’s cold out and we really just want to curl up under a blanket with Netflix.
Realize that New Year's Day is just another day and that making resolutions on this day is no different from making a resolution on any other day. While it's a convenient time because it's a new year and feels like a fresh start, we can start – or start again – anytime. So, for those of you who have already fallen off, or are late to the party, today is just as good a day as January 1st.
Publicly declare your resolutions. Once you have decided on your achievable resolutions, tell someone. Or better yet, post them online to your closest friends & family. Public accountability beats will-power any day of the week. Set a standing meeting with your spouse, children, significant other, or friends to check in once a week and don’t cheat. At the very least, if you didn’t meet your target goal for the week, you get a ‘date night’ with someone special.
Chart it. Write down your starting point, and if it’s a visible resolution – like losing weight or getting in shape – take a few selfies and tag them to your chart. Determine and set exactly what measurement you will use to measure the steps to you goal (pounds lost, inches lost or gained) and be specific. What gets measured gets managed, so the more specific you are, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. And to add to #2, publish your chart. Again, public accountability….will power is not enough.
Focus on one change at a time. Rather than trying to have several large changes underway at once, such as trying to lose weight, quit smoking, and increase your exercise regime, break the changes down into smaller lots and focus on one single resolution at a time. One per quarter is ideal. Or even adding a new one each quarter, as you continue to build on the quarter before. Your focus and energies won't be spread too thinly this way and you can give the single resolution all of your attention.
Use positive language rather than negative demands when thinking about doing your resolution. For example, rather than thinking "I can't be bothered going to the gym", think "I always feel so much better for going to the gym and I love that feeling." Highlighting the benefit to you is far more motivating than focusing on the negatives and self-deprecation for not doing it as expected.
Act as-if. Picturing the end result is the best way to stay motivated. Keep a mental image of yourself in the “after” state in the front of your mind, and pull it up frequently. Especially, when you don’t feel like doing the very thing you need to do to achieve your goals. Mentally consider your goals “done”, relish in the feeling that comes along with it, and you will be much more likely to “keep it up” rather than to “dig in and do the hard part”.
"Often you’ll hear somebody say, ‘I want to lose 10 pounds’ or ‘I want to be debt-free,’" she says. Instead, phrase your goal in a way that enables your subconscious and intuition to show up and help, says McCarthy. "Describe the goal as already completed and use gratitude," she says. "If you’ve already met your goal, you might say, ‘I’m so grateful to be physically fit, in a trim, toned, healthy body.’
When you describe a goal with gratitude, you light up the front part of brain. Numerous studies have shown that this part of the brain enhances focus and helps you notice more possibilities to succeed."
Tips & Tricks for Keeping the Most Common Resolutions:
The resolution: Be a better person.
Tip: Be Specific
The trick: Do the "daily questions" exercise
According to the Marist poll, "being a better person" is the most popular resolution for 2017, claimed by 16% of respondents.
Of course, it's impossible to define "better person," and to figure out one strategy for getting there. But the daily questions exercise is simple enough that anyone can use it and tailor it to the specific behaviors they're trying to change.
Start by picking 1-3 specific things that you could do that would satisfy this goal. Ie: Compliment my spouse. Then make an Excel spreadsheet and write these items in the first column. Then create seven boxes across, one for every day of the week. Each day tick off yes/no if you have accomplished this. At the end of the week, create a report card.
The goal is both to continue making progress on your goals and to realize that there will always be areas where you can improve.
The resolution: Lose weight
Tip: Be specific
The trick: Keep a diary
While losing weight sounds like a great goal, you should try to be more specific. Something like, ‘Lose 5 pounds’ or even better, ‘lost 1 inch on my waistline”.
The poll found that 10% of people said they wanted to lose weight in 2017.
One study of overweight and obese women found that those who kept a food diary (in the form of a printed booklet) lost about six pounds more than those who didn't. In your diary start by taking key measurements at the beginning of your journey, and each week, update it to include the current measurements so you can clearly see your progress. Additionally, each day, keep track of what you at each meal/snack. The idea that someone is watching what you eat — even if that someone is you — can help. Moreover, as you do this over time, patterns will emerge and you will be able to see which foods & behaviors are accelerating and hindering your progress.
The resolution: Exercise more
The Tip & trick: Just do it and trust that you'll enjoy it
Another 10% of people said they wanted to exercise more this year.
If that's your goal, too, keep in mind that the hardest part of hitting the gym is actually getting there. That's probably because you're anticipating a truly awful, grueling workout.
But exercise is rarely as painful as we imagine it will be. After a few minutes, you might enjoy the sensation of your breath, the music coming through your headphones, and the sound of your feet hitting the ground.
All those reasons why you "should" exercise — like getting stronger and looking better — will fade away.
So put a time for exercise on your calendar and have faith that it will be a positive experience.
Bringing a healthy, HOT lunch from home can assist with many of your New Years Resolutions. ] Studies have shown that eating a HOT meal:
- Triggers the satiary response sooner - so you eat less
- Is more satisfying
- Is more readily digestible
- Is healthier and often more nutrient dense