It’s that time of year! Most of us have reflected on our lives and have come to the conclusion that we could do or be better. For some, this is true, for others it is simply another way to beat ourselves up for not being “good enough”.
Let me start by saying, I think resolutions are good and we don’t have to wait until Jan 1st to make them. I believe it’s important to strive to live a healthy, responsible, meaningful life. And yes, quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, saving more and spending less will all have a positive effect on our lives. Resolutions give us something to work towards and serve as a positive example to children and others. The tricky part can be keeping resolutions positive and not tying self-worth to your success or failure.
Many times, we get excited at the thought of being healthier, skinnier, having more money or being more successful. Excitement is a good motivator, however it can backfire when we set unrealistic goals. Instant gratification is the number one problem with an unrealistic resolution. As a society, we tend to want, and expect, everything now! A person who has spent their entire adult life eating poorly and is obese may want to lose weight – however, when they haven’t hit their unrealistic goal weight by Feb 10th they see themselves as a failure, push the entire resolution aside and go right back to the old habits that led to their obesity in the first place. Resolutions do not have to be all or nothing, we all have setbacks, the real success comes when you push through and keep going.
There are several steps you can take to be successful in reaching your resolutions.
- Set a reasonable and measurable goal. Rather than saying “I want to lose weight”, say “I want to lose 1-2 lbs for 12 weeks”.
- Commit! Writing down your goal makes it “real”. It also helps to tell your spouse, close friends and/or family – ask them to help hold you accountable and support you.
- Make a plan. How will you achieve your goal? What steps will you take?
- Reward yourself – reward yourself in a healthy way. If you’re trying to lose weight, make it something other than food. If you’re trying to save money, avoid a monetary reward.
- Cut yourself some slack. No one is perfect, if you fall off track or have a bad day, get over it and move on – keep moving forward, you’ll get there.
- Believe in yourself – you CAN do it!
You have the power to make positive changes every day! Some days will be better than others, accept it, don’t beat yourself up, keep going!