Happy New Year! We all enjoy the optimism of a new year, a clean slate, a fresh start, a new you. What are your inspired intentions for 2014? Lose weight? Get more sleep? Exercise? Spend more time with family? Earn a larger paycheck?
We all have great goals that too often get swallowed up by life getting in the way. Soon, we find ourselves right back where we started. Sound familiar? It's important to set “feel good” goals, and in the end, still actually feel good about them.
Here are a few tips to help you successfully “add in” your new year’s resolution:
1. Get specific and realistic with your goals.
Those intentions to lose weight, exercise, eat better, etc. are all great, but they are general and sometimes a bit too lofty. Specifically stating that you would like to lose 10 lbs over a 3 month period is a clear-cut goal. Planning daily action steps in advance such as having a pair of sneakers under your desk for 10 minute noontime walks, surrounding yourself with healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, vegetables or nuts, planning meals in advance and slowing down to enjoy those meals are all guidelines for success in achieving the bigger goal of losing weight.
2. Visualize your desired result.
You’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.” Apply this saying to your goals. What will losing 10 lbs be like for you? How will you feel? What will you look like? How will reaching this goal enhance your life? If the process seems daunting or you just cannot visualize it, perhaps reevaluate the goal. Although the process of change will be deliberate and intentional initially, it should feel enjoyable most of the time. What simple add-ins can make the challenge of reaching your goal more pleasurable?
3. Support and more support.
Enlist your physical therapist, join a group, hire a coach, join a challenge, recruit a partner or better yet, do all the above. Support and accountability are keys for sticking to and maintaining new routines. We all have an idea of what we should be doing, but having a partner (or partners) that can help keep us on track is important. Feed off the energy and enthusiasm of your support people and commit to weekly check-ins. Make this a priority. Being able to voice your frustrations, think aloud and share your successes with people who understand what you are working towards will ensure that you will stay on track.
4. Plan and stick with it.
There is different information regarding the amount of time it takes to construct a new habit. Some experts say 21 days, perhaps 30 and maybe even 60 days. The truth is that it really depends on what you are trying to do, where you are coming from, and how you are planning to accomplish your goal. Sticking to a new routine for at least a month gives most people adequate time to adjust to the change and to feel how the change impacts other aspects of life, thus increasing the odds of sticking to the desired new behavior. Soon those intentional add-ins become everyday health-promoting routines.