My New Year's resolution is a little bit different this year. In the past, it's always been a drastic resolution. Something along the lines of "I'm going to workout 6 days/week" or "I'm going to cut out all sugar". These goals are great for the first few days, maybe even the first few weeks. And then slowly time goes by or I get busy and I completely forget about my goal. It's like the thought doesn't even cross my mind ever again and once again, I don't keep my New Year's resolution. Challenge: Think back to last January - did you keep your New Year's resolution?!?
Reflecting over this past year, I've had a lot of health changes. Some which have prevented me from truly living a healthy lifestyle. This has forced me to learn that you have to start small. For example, due to some health issues this last winter I was barely able to workout. I loved to workout- it was my morning routine. Suddenly, I went from working out 6 days/week maybe once/month. Talk about major lifestyle change.
Almost 6 months later, when I was finally able to workout again, it wasn't realistic to jump back into my normal workout routine. I remember the first workout I completed after I started working out again, and boy was I sore! (It probably doesn't help that I went all out!)
After my first workout back, I reevaluated and set the goal of working out 2 times a week for 20 minutes. To be honest, I didn't achieve that goal. That didn't stop me though. I set the same goal for the next week and made it! After that, I went for 25 minutes 2 times a week. It took a couple tries, but I did it.
Step to follow to Keep your New Year's Resolution
Ask yourself these 5 questions when crafting a New Year's resolution. This will help you create something that is achievable and sustainable!
1. Why do I want to achieve this goal?
Step number 1: ALWAYS ask yourself for the reason behind your goal. Why do I want to accomplish this? For example, if my goal is to stop eating sugar, ask the reason behind it. Is it because your family has a history of diabetes? Or maybe your goal is to lose 10 pounds. Is it because you want to be around more for your family?
Here's some common motivators behind setting goals:
- I want to be around for a long time for my children/grandkids
- My goal is to have more energy to play with my kids
- I want to quit taking so many medicines for my health problems
- I need to set a good example for my family
- Losing weight will let me look better in my outfits
- I'm tired of feeling miserable
- I want my cholesterol labs to improve
2. How am I going to achieve this goal?
Having a game plan is key! Without specifically identifying how you will achieve your goal, it will be easy to get overwhelmed and not even start!
As an example, let's take the common goal of weight loss. If your goal is to lose weight, a good start would be "I plan to lose weight by working out 4 times/week".
From here, ask yourself, how exactly am I going to do this? You can expand your goal even further by stating "My goal is to workout 4 times per week by going to the gym M-Th immediately after work." Take it a step further and decide to bring your gym clothes with you to work. Decide that you are going to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes each time you go. The more specific the better!
3. When do I want to reach my goal?
Give yourself a timeframe and make it realistic. For example, it you would like to lose 10 pounds, make it a goal to state when you would like to lose the weight. A realistic goal might be that you want to lose 10 pounds in 4 months. From here, break it down even further. You might choose loosing 2 pounds/month or ½ pound per week.
Another example of a timeframe is stating how long you plan to follow your resolution. Let's say your goal is to cut out all soda. If you are drinking 3 pops/day currently, a more realistic goal might be to cut out all pop on the weekdays, and allow yourself 1 soda per weekend. Once this is achieved, you can revise your goal.
4. Is this goal even obtainable?
It's so easy to choose a goal that's not even realistic! Ask yourself if it is something you can truly achieve. If the answer is NO, go back through the above steps and create a goal that is more obtainable.
A perfect example of this would be someone that has a goal of eating 9 fruits and veggies per day, while they currently do not eat any. While this is a great goal, it may not exactly be realistic. Chances are they will stick with it for a few days, and then go back to their old habits. A better goal would be to eat 2 fruits/veggies per day and then if this is achieved, continue to increase the goal.
5. How am I going to hold myself accountable?
Write it down! Writing it down is the best way to hold yourself accountable. Post your goal somewhere that you will see it daily - such as the bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator. I use this weekly planner to stay organized--I write down my weekly goal which really helps me to not forget or get busy!
Also consider telling someone that will hold you accountable, such as a friend, spouse or coworker. If you mess up one day--it's ok! Make the decision to restart fresh the next day or from that moment on. Nobody is perfect! Starting somewhere is so much further along than many other people around you!
Write out all necessary steps of your goal. It may look something like this:
I plan to increase my exercise for the year so I can set a good example for my family.
-I will go to the gym 3 times/week on M,W,F. I plan to take a fitness class at my local gym.
-I will park in the furthest parking lot at work and the store, to increase my walking.
-I will walk my dog around the block for 10 minutes on the weekend.
How to make your goal a habit
Choosing to achieve your goal requires conscious choices. You are faced daily with choices- how to spend your time, what to eat, whether to stay up late, etc.. It's up to you how you spend your time. If truly wanting to reach your goal, it must become a habit. The key to forming a habit is to make it practice. Make the conscious decision to do it day after day. Know the reasoning why, and make sure it is obtainable. Start small, and eventually grow your habit into something big. If you want more information on creating a habit, I would highly encourage you to watch this 4 part video series on habits. It can be applied to any goal - physical, spiritual, mental, etc...
I personally watched this series and made the choice to become a more thankful person. After being faced with multiple health issues last winter, my outlook was not always positive. However, I had to remember my joy did not come from my circumstances. I started a daily practice of prayer and reciting 2 things I was thankful for to my husband each day. Somedays were a struggle to identify things I was grateful for, however it really made me dig deep and thing of how blessed I really was. I still say my two things I'm grateful for every day!
Examples of some Healthy Resolutions
Here are some examples of health related New Year's resolutions. Customize these to fit your needs and lifestyle!
- Cut out pop on weekdays
- Workout 4 times a week for 30 minutes
- Increase my energy by eating protein at every meal.
- Park in the farthest spot when at work or the store to get more steps in
- Eat out less by meal prepping your lunch for the week every Sunday
- Eat less sugar by subbing out your nightly dessert with a piece of fruit.
- Decrease sugar intake by only placing half the sugar into your coffee in the mornings.
- Get more sleep by switching from morning showers to nightly showers and snoozing for an extra half hour in the mornings
- Decrease your stress levels by participating in a weekly yoga class
- Become a happier person by identifying two things I'm thankful for every day
Putting it all together
Hopefully these tips will help you create the perfect goal that you can follow and help you to keep your New Year's Resolution. Remember, goals and habits won't happen overnight. It's the daily practices and habits that result in the accomplishment of a goal.
Remember these 5 questions when choosing a resolution:
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
- How am I going to reach this goal?
- When do I want to reach my goal?
- Is this goal even obtainable?
- How am I going to hold myself accountable?
My goal for this year is to workout 4 times per week for 30 minutes. I plan to do this by bringing my gym clothes with me to work, and going straight from work to the gym Monday through Thursday. I'd like to do this for 3 months straight. Once I'm able to do this, I will hopefully increase it!
Comment below with your New Year's Goal!
Other resources to promote a healthy lifestyle
- Healthy snack alternatives when you are craving sweets
- Health benefits of quinoa
- Healthy Summer Snacks
- Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
- How to protect your health