Today's post was contributed by Erika, a nutrition student volunteer. She offers some great suggestions for making your New Year's resolutions fun, achievable, and effective. Thanks Erika, and happy New Year everyone!
It’s time, once again, to set a New Year’s resolution.
Often times a goal is set on January 1st but by February it is already forgotten; if this is you, you are not alone. There are many reasons New Year’s resolutions get pushed to the back burner, but here are some tips to help you make a good resolution and keep it.
1. Focus on one goal – One goal is much easier to manage than 3 or 4 goals. It takes a lot of effort to make lifestyle changes but if you put all of your effort into one change you will be more successful and you’ll feel less overwhelmed by the whole process.
2. Make it specific – You should be clear on exactly what you want to accomplish in order to keep yourself on track. Making it specific also lets you know how far you have to go and when you’ve reached your goal. For example, lose weight is vague but lose 20lbs by working out for 2 hours each week is a more specific target. For more information on how to make goals specific visit http://topachievement.com/smart.html
3. Have a plan – Think of the steps you will need to take to reach this goal and set yourself up for success. If you want to eat healthier you might want to look into different health foods so you know what to buy while shopping and that way you have healthy food in the house. Take the plan a step further and have recipes ready so you know what to do with this new food. This helps you reduce stress and it makes you think about your goal in detail, lessening the chances of you forgetting.
4. Get support – These people should be positive and willing to join you in whatever your goal may be, working out is more fun with a friend! You will have someone holding you accountable and pushing you to keep going but also listening to your concerns and telling you it is okay to have an off day. Try joining a class at the gym, a knitting group, a book club or just have a friend with a similar goal.
5. Write it down – Writing your goal down helps you hold yourself accountable. Write it on a post-it and put it on your mirror or computer, anywhere that you will see every day so every day you remember to stay on track. This should not be a negative thing that taunts you but rather a small reminder of what you want to do to be a better you.
6. Make it fun – It’s hard to continually do something you hate so if you dislike the goal or your plan to reach the goal then you will stop doing it. If you want to lose weight but hate running then don’t plan on running 5 miles a day, try dancing or hiking. Look for alternatives that fit your interests and lifestyle in order to make your goal fun and achievable.
7. Stay positive – New Year’s is when most people try to change but every day is a new opportunity to reach your goal. If you have a bad day or week or even month don’t wait until the following New Year’s to start over; wake up the next day, talk to your support group, remind yourself why you chose that goal and take the first step back on track.
The most common resolutions are to lose weight or start exercising, but maybe it would help to try something new. Here are some alternatives to get you excited about the New Year:
Buy a cooking magazine from the grocery store and try a new recipe each week
Replace an hour of watching TV with an hour of exercise/reading/knitting etc. twice a week
Reduce clutter in your room by getting rid of clothes you haven’t worn all season
Write down all doctors’ appointments in a calendar to ensure you go to each one
Did you set a goal for yourself this New Year's? Share in the comments below!