Sticking With Your Resolutions
Well, we are now a few weeks into the New Year. Did you resolve to give up coffee, stop smoking, or lose some weight? If you made a resolution or two, how are you doing?
Keeping New Year's resolutions is not easy, but guess what? I have some tips for making lasting, positive changes in your life.
1. Create specific, measurable goals.
If you work in the corporate world, no doubt you have heard of SMART goals. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-sensitive. To ensure success, you need to define it. How can you get where you are going if the path is not clearly marked, right? So instead of saying "I want to lose weight this year", say instead "I plan to limit my meat consumption to twice a week and omit sugary drinks." The act of eating less meat and eliminating sodas and juice from your diet are specific steps that will reduce your caloric intake and help you with the abstract goal of losing weight.
2. Attach the goal to an emotion.
OK, so you want to give up smoking. Why? Get specific. Will eliminating smoking provide you with an extra hundred dollars a month that you can use to save for a restful vacation in Bermuda next year? Will a new exercise regimen allow you to feel more energized so you can get outside and play ball with your child creating a special bonding time he or she will remember forever? When we attach importance to the goal, we can continue to remind ourselves when motivation starts to wane why we are making this change.
3. Do one thing at a time.
Research has found that it takes about 21-30 days to create a new habit. It also has been found that to successfully create change, you need to focus on one thing at a time. Resolving to kick your caffeine habit, take up running and get up an hour earlier every morning are wonderful goals, but trying to do them all starting January 1st will lead to overwhelm and frustration. If you have the goal of eating healthier this year, start with one specific, measurable behavior (such as eating 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day) and stick with it for one month. After 30 straight days, that behavior will become a habit. By the end of the year, you will have 12 new habits!
If you’ve resolved to live a healthier lifestyle this year, consider joining my Do One Thing challenge where we tackle a new habit each month.
Here’s to a happy and healthy new you!