Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

What are your New Year’s resolutions? According to the most common ones are to lose weight, eat healthy food, get fit, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, get a better education, get a better job, manage debt, manage stress, save money, take a trip, volunteer to help others, and recycle. I hope you are on your way to achieving your New Year’s resolutions. If you are like most people however, you may be well on your way to breaking them. Why?

We sit down, reflect and think about how we want to better ourselves in the coming year. Then we get excited and start taking action to achieve our new goals. So, why do we tend to fail? One reason is that we want results and success immediately. If we don’t see quick results, we lose interest and stop working toward them. Another reason is that sometimes we start seeing quick results, but our actions are not sustainable long-term. For example, you may be having great success in losing weight but the means to achieving your weight loss are too extreme or are just not sustainable.

You may be wondering, “So how do I achieve my New Year’s resolutions?” I view New Year’s resolutions a little different. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in my life or what needs to be fixed, I like to look at what will enhance my life. Then I set intentions and start making lifestyle changes to help make those intentions a reality. Using the weight loss example, instead of setting a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, I’ll set an intention to be healthy. I will then look at what dietary changes I can make that will support my intention. The key to making a lifestyle change is to have patience and make small manageable changes over time. For instance, I may start with drinking more water. After a couple of weeks of getting used to drinking more water, I’ll make another small change. I’ll continue this pattern of making small lifestyle changes to be healthy—indefinitely—until I reach my final goal (and beyond if the changes have bettered my life). To be successful, it’s imperative to remember that (especially with the goal of ‘losing weight’) that it’s a lifestyle change and not a goal that once you achieve, you’re done.

Talking with people who will support you and continuously educating yourself by reading articles and books on the topic are also great techniques that support long term success. If your intentions/resolutions include being healthy and/or fit, keep it local. Avoid the big box gyms and look for a smaller, locally owned gym or fitness studio. Not only will you be supporting the local economy, you’ll get more personalized attention and be more likely to stay on track with your fitness goals. The big box gyms are more concerned about their bottom line while the smaller, local gyms are focused on you.