Tis the time to make resolutions! The word resolution generally makes me cringe, but to help you keep resolutions to better your health, I have a few tips to help you continue the success and make your resolutions last.
First, make sure you make a realistic resolution. Set yourself up for success by making the goal practical for your life and your schedule. For example, starting a weight loss program by putting yourself on a 500 calorie daily diet is not sensible, nor is it healthy. Putting yourself on a balanced diet that takes into consideration your activity level, your age, gender, and goal weight is a much better approach.
If you are doing this with a buddy, clearly define your own goals first. Take ownership of your goals and your actions to reach them. It also helps to find a dedicated buddy who has a similar schedule as yours.
Take it in steps. Take a “big picture” approach to thinking about your resolution and all the steps necessary to make it happen.
So many times people fail because they want instant gratification. It may take you a little longer to see the results you want with a realistic plan, but when you compare it to how much longer it will last and the benefit you can see from it, you will find it is worth the wait.
The key to success is tracking your behaviors and progress. A food diary or an exercise log can often cause an “ah-ha” moment. When someone cannot figure out why they are not seeing the results they want and they begin to use a tracking tool, they soon uncover the reasons. It may be hard to be honest with yourself about your actual behaviors, which is why tracking devices can be great tools for sustained behavior change.
If you are quitting a bad habit, you may want to find an alternative for your habit. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking and you know you always want to smoke after you eat, have your replacement ready. Take a walk, call a friend, chew gum, or even exercise. The key is to be prepared and find what works for you.
In the end, the key to keeping your resolutions all comes down to accountability. Make resolutions that are realistic, fit within your lifestyle, and can be tracked on a regular basis. Set yourself up to succeed, and you will.