The New Year is finally here and with its arrival came a flood of resolutions and promises for a better self. There are many different factors that determine the outcome of each objective and the fact is that more than half of resolutions go unfulfilled, even those made with strong conviction.
Make it About You
Whatever goals you might be pursuing in the New Year, they should be most important to YOU! If you are picking up a new hobby or learning a new skill because it’s what “everyone” is doing, you may want to reevaluate and consider something that will increase personal satisfaction.
According to research by Harvard Medical School, “long-lasting change is most likely when it’s self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking.”
Make a Plan
How many times have you heard a relative or friend enthusiastically share their resolutions only to find that they’ve abandoned their efforts shortly after? Maybe you have been in this position before. Often times, this is due to not having clarity as to what steps to take to achieve the final goal. Your resolution this year may be to lose weight but if you don’t consider what steps you need to take to make it happen (are you going to make adjustments to your diet? Will you be incorporating exercise?), you are setting yourself up for a rocky ride at best.
Studies show that there are benefits to “piggybacking,” which consists of pairing a task that you want to perform with frequency with a task that you already perform on the regular. For instance, if you want to increase your water intake you may consider having a glass with every meal or snack.
Meaningful change doesn’t occur with sporadic actions – changes in lifestyle choices are required to create lasting habits. It’s been observed that new behavior patterns are usually achieved by replacing old, stagnant ones. Start by making small tweaks to your existing daily routine and building your way to your final goal.
Surrounding yourself with other people pursuing the same results or people who motivate you can also make a positive impact on your journey.
Remember to be reasonable and realistic with your expectations and to map out a clear plan of action that allows you to deal with unforeseen hiccups down the road. If you find yourself struggling to stick to a routine, don’t get discouraged and make adjustments as you go. Change simply doesn’t happen in a snap. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your medical physician.