5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions
It’s a new year. A blank slate. And the perfect time to make changes for the better. Whether that be your career, relationships, waistline, or whatever else you want to change in 2018.
However, the tricky part is often getting your resolutions to stick. But not this year! If you follow the tips I’ve outlined below, this will be the year you reach your goals.
Have a Plan
Listen up! Having a plan is ESSENTIAL for your success. Even if you’re extremely motivated, you also need to state your intentions. Which means actually writing down your plan. And breaking it down into small, achievable goals. To illustrate my point, let’s look at this study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology.
The researchers set out to measure how frequently people exercised after being given a specific set of instructions. The participants were randomly broken down into three groups. Group 1 was simply asked to track their activity. Group 2 was asked to track their activity, but they were also given motivational information on the benefits of exercise. Group 3 was tasked with tracking activity and was given the same motivational information as group 2. BUT, they were also required to write down their exercise plan.
For example, “This week I will jog for at least 20 minutes on Monday at 10:00 AM along the Iron Horse Trail.” It’s important to note that the plan was ACHIEVABLE. But also very SPECIFIC. At the end of the study, only 38% of group 1 participants exercised at least once a week. Group 2 came in at 35%. On the other hand, 91% of group 3 participants exercised at least once a week. That’s a HUGE difference! And similar studies (here and here) have successfully reproduced these results
Thus, having a plan works! So let’s say your long term goal for 2018 is to lose 30 pounds. Well, this goal will likely require several steps to make this happen, such as eating healthy, exercising, stressing less, and getting more sleep. But that can be a lot to take on all at once. Thus, maybe start by focusing on your diet. Because a healthy, whole food diet has a trickle down effect. For example, it will give you more energy to exercise. And exercising can help you sleep better at night.
So, if you go down this path, one of your short term goals may be to eat more home cooked meals. And you’ll need a plan for this too. Because if you wait until you get home after a long day to figure it all out, chances are you won’t be running to the grocery store to grab the ingredients you need. More likely you’ll end up with take out or even worse, that pint of ice cream in your freezer.
Instead, I recommend planning your meals each day. Write down specifically what you plan to eat at each meal and snack each day. Either on paper or use a meal planning app. This will help you determine exactly what ingredients you’ll need (and which you don’t). You can then stock your kitchen appropriately with all the right foods. And maybe even do some meal prepping over the weekend to save you time during the week.
Know YourselfThis tip requires taking a good look in the mirror. Not to fix your lipstick or pluck a stray eyebrow hair. But instead, to take an in-depth look at yourself. To understand both your strengths and weaknesses. Because when you truly know yourself, you can maximize your strengths and counter the weaknesses that could trip you up. First, give some serious thought to what your best assets are, and how you can use them to reach your goals. For instance:
- Are you a natural leader? If so, think about getting other people involved in your healthy plans for the New Year. For instance, organize a Bone Broth Diet group at work, or lead a walking group for your friends. Activities like these will keep your own motivation high, while helping your peeps as well. There’s strength in numbers!
- Are you bold? Then set “stretch” goals for yourself. Don’t make them impossible, but make them awesome. You’ll be amazed at how often you’ll reach them.
- Are you a creative cook? Then every week, explore at least two new ways to incorporate healthy, slimming foods into your diet.
- Are you willing to try new things? Then experiment with fun ways to stay fit. For instance, take up rock climbing or surfing, or try archery or ballet. You’ll turn everyday exercise into an adventure!
- Do you like challenges? If you tell me I can’t do something, you better believe I will find a way to prove you wrong. So if you’re like me, treat your resolutions as mini-challenges.
- Do you tend to blow your diet on dates or nights out with the girls? Then avoid the bar-and-restaurant scene and plan weekend activities that involve more doing and less eating and drinking. For instance, go ice skating with your sweetie, or get a massage with the gals.
- Do you eat fast food often because you don’t like cooking? Then write out a list of all the healthy foods you can pick up quickly at the store—for instance, rotisserie chickens, salads, pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs, pre-cut veggies, tuna, smoked salmon, and Applegate lunch meats. Keep this list in your car, and when you’re tempted to get a burger and fries, dash into the store and grab a good-for-you meal instead.
- Are you prone to negative self-talk? Then learn to spot this habit and break it. For instance, each time you catch yourself thinking, “I’m going to fail,” replace that thought with a positive one—for instance, “I am strong, and I am committed to my goal of becoming slimmer and healthier.” Think of that negative voice as a bully, and start standing up to it!
Getting slim and healthy is more than just eating well and exercising. It’s also about self love. So when you stick to your plan and hit your milestones, reward yourself for how far you’ve come. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, consider rewarding yourself for every 5 pounds you lose. However, this doesn’t mean stuffing your face with a box of donuts or a pint ice cream. Instead, find something that you enjoy and makes you feel good. Pamper yourself with a massage. Take a trip to the museum. Get tickets to see your favorite band.
Whatever You Do, Don't Give Up
While you must have confidence in yourself, you must also recognize that no one is perfect. And surprises are bound to happen. Thus, in addition to self love, you also need to practice self compassion. If you get tripped up, don’t let it completely derail you. Instead, give yourself a big hug and simply pick up where you left off. Because stressing out or feeling guilty won’t get you very far. In fact, it will get you nowhere!
Don’t Take Your Eye Off the Prize
While a plan is essential, I don’t want to underestimate the value of motivation. In the studies I mentioned above, the most successful outcomes came when a written plan AND motivation were combined. So...picture yourself where you want to be the night before 2019. And keep reminding yourself WHY it’s so important for you to get there.