Here it is, another New Year. The gyms will be packed with people trying to lose weight. Diet books will fly off the shelf with the promise of a new you. In a few weeks’ time, the gyms will be less crowded and the diet books will be collecting dust. Is there a way to make a resolution that you can keep? The answer is yes and it is easier than you might think.
Choose a goal based on what you do, not on the result
The first step in making a New Year’s resolution you can keep is to make it a behavior based goal, not an outcome based goal. This means rather than resolve to lose 20 lbs, resolve to walk every night after dinner (or something like this). The reason behavior goals work better is that you can control your behavior, but outcomes involve a lot of factors that are out of your control. It can also be easier to stay motivated when you have completed a couple weeks of a new behaviour than it is when weight is (very) slowly dropping off.
Establish a new habit, but keep it realistic
Next, pick a habit that is relatively easy to do. If you haven’t been exercising at all resolving to go to the gym every day is probably not going to work. Resolving to to do a 10 minute workout at home might be more realistic. If you currently eat lunch out every day at a fast food place, resolve to choose a healthier restaurant or bring lunch from home. Stick with the new habit for a couple of weeks before you try to make it harder or try something new.
Choose a positive and specific goal
I like goals that are positive. Instead of resolving to stop drinking sugary drinks, resolve to drink more water. You’ll be surprised how you forget to drink as many sugary drinks. Make it even more specific by resolving to take a full water bottle with you everywhere you go. That way you won’t be tempted to stop for a sugary drink. Another way to make it a positive goal is to resolve to eat an extra serving of vegetables every day. Maybe add a green smoothie, a salad at lunch, or some bell peppers to snack on.
But remember the part about making it specific. Resolving to get more exercise is positive. Resolving to attend a twice weekly fitness class is specific.
Make sure you have support
Social support is one of the most important factors in making healthy habits stick. You might be able to get support from your spouse, a friend, or your family. If you want to start exercising, find a friend who you can exercise with or join an exercise class. If you want to start eating better, talk to your family about how you want to start making healthier meals for everyone.
Making healthy changes can be challenging. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start. In my 12 week Healthy Changes Program I provide you with the support and guidance to make the changes you need to make.