As each year draws to a close, many of us consider everything we’ve done over the past twelve months, and everything we want to do in the coming year. It’s easy to set New Year’s Resolutions that generate a lot of energy and excitement while you’re planning…but often much harder to sustain that excitement and energy once the year gets under way.
How do you make sure this next year is your best year ever? Follow these tips to set New Year’s Resolutions that are right for you!
Cut that resolution in half!
Whatever goal you really want to achieve, start with a smaller milestone—and in most cases, start my cutting your eventual goal right in half, or reducing it until you absolutely know you can achieve it. For example, if your goal is to lose fifty pounds…and you haven’t lost fifty pounds in more than ten years…cut the goal to twenty-five pounds, or even ten. Whatever goal makes you think “I can totally do that,” that’s what your resolution should be. Then, once you’ve achieved it…do it again and again until you reach your ultimate goal. You want to rack up the wins early and often in the coming year, to build your momentum for success!
Change one behavior at a time
Continuing on with the weight loss theme, it’s tempting to think you’ll stop eating fast food, begin an exercise plan, join a gym, and start cooking all your meals at home at the same time…but that’s a ticket to almost immediate failure. Pick one habit or behavior to start with, and keep at it until you have it mastered. For example—resolve to replace three fast food meals a week with a home-cooked alternative, and then cook a big meal at home you can freeze into three small containers. That way, you’ll have dinner (or lunch!) already made for those three meals, and can eat out guilt-free the rest of the week if you’d like. You’ve won! If you do that for a solid month, you can take on a new behavior or maybe cook two big dishes at home to freeze and replace six total fast-food meals each week. It’s all about small steps!
Talk about it (to a safe audience)
Talking about your goals can be tricky, but if you have a safe group who will support your dreams, it’s fantastic to have someone with whom you can share the journey. Be careful, though! Not everyone will want you to change, so if you find you don’t have support the need from your friends or family, find new cheerleaders—at the gym, online, or at work.
Be kind to yourself
We all want to achieve all our goals in the first month, and then coast the rest of the year—but that’s not likely to happen. When you miss a gym appointment or deadline, or find yourself doing that ONE thing you were trying to avoid, decide right then it’s not the end of the world—or your resolution. Get back on track as soon as you can (like the very next hour or the very next morning) and resolve to continue your journey!
Plan your rewards
With each of your small milestones gained, it’s important to reward yourself. Those rewards can be simple—buying (and reading!) a new book, taking a walk in a beautiful park you’ve never visited before, getting together with friends for a celebratory breakfast, or posting an official success announcement on your Facebook shared group—but these mini-celebrations can help keep you positively motivated. Different rewards work for different people, so experiment! Keeping track of your success and honoring it will help keep the journey fun.
Whether you set New Year’s Resolutions or not, here’s wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!