A new year is approaching and with it comes the urge to accomplish new goals, make improvements in our lives, and break bad habits. Many of these resolutions are related to our health. A New Year’s resolution can be the starting motivation to improve our overall well-being and that’s a good thing! This fresh resolve and optimism are often short-lived, however. In fact, it is generally thought that more than half of all resolutions fail.
Why is this true and what can we do to successfully achieve our objective to be healthier?
First, don’t set vague undefined goals. Make your resolution specific. Rather than resolve to “get in shape,” commit to walk a predefined number of steps each day. Instead of saying “I am going to eat healthier,” try “I am going to forego eating red meat on Mondays and Wednesdays.” If you are resolving to get more sleep, pledge to turn the lights out 15 minutes earlier than usual 4 days a week. Setting clear and concrete plans will be more effective.
The importance of setting specific goals leads us right to the second aspect of successful goal achievement. Your goal should be measurable. By making resolutions that have specific and measurable steps, we can hold ourselves objectively accountable. If you did not walk those extra steps, your fitness tracker won’t lie to you. Having a measure of your success can be a strong motivator; it also allows you the enjoyment of celebrating when you actually succeed!
Thirdly, set goals that are attainable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t dream big about the things you want to achieve, but making resolutions that are too difficult to attain can leave you feeling frustrated and more likely to give up. Your resolutions should inspire you, not discourage you. So make sure they are within reach.
Lastly, set up a timeframe for reaching your goals. Be realistic about the time you need to achieve your objectives. Having a target date for specific steps can help you maintain your determination. Deadlines are also key to personal accountability.
As with all attempts at self-improvement, do your best to maintain a positive attitude and don’t beat yourself up if you hit some roadblocks along the way. Ultimately, New Year’s resolutions can be a great kick-start to a happier, healthier you. Cheers!