New Year’s resolutions can be…well, discouraging. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of falling short of our resolutions in one way or another. So how do we make this year different and stick to our health goals? Here are 10 suggestions to help you stick to your 2013 resolutions!
- Make your goals specific. For example, instead of saying, “I want to exercise more this year,” commit to exercise 30 minutes a day or a certain number of days a week. Being specific will help you track your progress and measure your improvement.
- Be realistic. If your goals aren’t realistic, you’re setting yourself up for failure. For instance, instead of deciding to not eat sugar for the rest of the year, try something like limiting desserts to a few times a week. If you want to eat more greens but don’t enjoy them in a salad, add them to a smoothie containing your favorite fruits. Or try one of Blendtec’s delicious green smoothies. Dividing your goals into subgoals (see #3) will also help you be realistic and avoid trying to bite off too much at one time.
- Divide and conquer. Break down big goals into smaller, more manageable subgoals with deadlines. If weight loss is one of your goals, set weekly or monthly weight-loss goals that keep you moving toward your overall goal.
- Set a target date for reaching each goal. Rather than saying you want to achieve a goal by the vague "sometime" during the year, choose an end date that is significant to you, like a birthday, anniversary or vacation.
- Write down your goals. When you write down your goals, you make them official and commit yourself to them. Also, display your goals where you can see them often, which will remind you of your commitments.
- Remember the big picture. Make a list of the real reasons you want to change. Is the objective of your health goals to just look better, or is there a bigger underlying motivation for change, like being able to play and keep up with your kids or grandkids?
- Talk to experts. Getting help from a fitness trainer or enrolling in a weight-loss program will give you an extra boost and remove a lot of the guesswork about how to be successful.
- Tell family/friends. Share your new goals with people who will encourage you. You'll also feel a sense of accountability—you’ll be much less apt to eat that combo meal from the fast-food restaurant in front of someone who knows you're trying to drop a few pounds.
- Don’t rely on willpower. Yep, that’s right—willpower will only get you so far (like the first month). Instead, change your environment to avoid temptations and setbacks; you'll have a greater chance of achieving lasting change. For example, ditch the candy dish by your desk or avoid the route home that takes you past your favorite pastry shop.
- Don’t give up. Everyone slips up at one point on the road to improvement. Give yourself another chance, and never be afraid to recommit yourself—even right after that first bite of chocolate cake.
Which strategies have helped you the most?