Sticking To Your New Year's Resolutions

Calendar and Apple by Maren Sederquist, MES, CSCS, PES, CPT

New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad rap. So bad in fact, that I even stopped making them years ago. It seemed to me that no one ever kept their resolutions, so they became silly to even try to attempt. The thing is, I actually like the idea of them. I like the idea of trying to improve myself. I just didn’t want to jinx myself by making a “resolution”, because no one ever keeps them. So I secretly started making resolutions. I just called them goals, and made them on a different day of the year! I even wrote them down and compared them year after year. I found that I actually made progress each year, and was able to refocus on the ones that needed more work. Why is it that I kept my “resolutions”? I really don’t think it had anything to do with the fact that called them something else and made them on a different day of the year, I think it’s just because of how I made them, and applied them.

Here are my tips:

  • Make true resolutions, not wishes. You have to be passionate about your resolution and committed to making the change in your life.
  • Make a promise to your self to stick to your plan. You have control over what happens to you.
  • Don’t make too many resolutions. Keep your resolutions few enough that you can maintain focus.
  • Make your resolutions as specific as possible, and be specific about how you’re going to meet them.
  • Be realistic with the amount of time you have available, and what you can take on.
  • Make a detailed plan for achieving your resolutions, looking at obstacles you’re likely to meet, and decide how you’re going to overcome them. Having a clear sense of direction will empower you to beat the resistance you’ll meet.
  • Write your resolutions down to reinforce them.
  • Ask yourself what the advantages and disadvantages are of sticking to your resolution or not. Deal with any reward you may get for not accomplishing your goal by reminding yourself of the reward the rewards of success.
  • Set milestones so your resolutions don’t seem insurmountable. Track your progress and monitor it weekly. As you accomplish small goals, you’ll gain the self-confidence that will lead to larger successes.
  • Educate yourself. Make sure you have the information you need to be successful.
  • Make sure you’re making the resolution for yourself. You’re only going to accomplish the goals you want to, and that match your values, not the ones you think you need to.
  • Focus on what you DO want, not what you don’t want. Stop the negative resolutions like “I can’t lose weight”.
  • Be forgiving. It’s human nature to take a step backwards after you’ve taken two steps forward. Acknowledge that any change in appositive direction is a good one and worth a pat on the back, and get yourself back on track.
  • Know that you’re working on developing a habit, and it will become automatic after the initial hard part. Know that you may face some short term pain to reach your long term gain.
  • Respect the value of a bad habit and replace it with a new healthy habit instead of just giving it up.
  • Do your best to avoid triggers for a few weeks to change your habit patterns. If you know your weakness is candy on a coworker's desk, walk the long way around until you can resist.
  • Change your routine. Each time you do something different, you remind yourself of your resolutions. Open doors with your left hand or sit on a ball instead of a chair.
  • Have patience. Don’t be discouraged by bumps in the road. Plan on it. Be persistent and pick your self back up, and look at each setback as an opportunity to learn rather than complete failure. Relapse is a normal part of the change process.
  • Recruit friends and family in your efforts. People respect efforts toward self-improvement, and support is important to make your new routine a habit. Personal trainers and other health professionals can be sources of support too!

Here's wishing you a healthy new year
with success toward your resolutions!


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