Every January people make New Year's Resolutions. Most of the resolutions are broken by February. We all have things we want to change or things we want to do, but how do we make resolutions that we can keep?
There are a few tips and tricks to making and keeping manageable goals. This year when you are making your resolutions, keep some of these ideas in mind and hopefully you can create some of the change you want to see.
It is kind of a psychological thing, but phrasing your goals and resolutions in a positive manner can help you to achieve them. Instead of saying "I will quit smoking", say "I am smoke free". Instead of saying "I will lose weight", say "I live a healthier lifestyle". Try using these positive goals as mantras. When you feel like you are getting down, repeat the mantra to yourself.
Another way to stay positive is to not beat yourself up. If you are trying to eat healthy once a week and you miss a week, forgive yourself and make sure to do it the next week. We all lapse, or get busy, or forget. It can be especially hard if we are trying to make lifestyle changes. It is ok to take a break, collect yourself, and return if you need to.
Write Out Your Goals
If you need extra reminders or motivation, try writing your goals on sticky notes and posting them in places where you know you will see them every day. You can put them on your bathroom mirror, closet or chest of drawers, kitchen cabinets, etc. You can also try writing out positive mantras associated with your goals. Post a note on your mirror that says "You are beautiful", or one on your fridge that says "You are healthy". Seeing these positive messages can help you to feel better about yourself. Even if you don't believe them right away, seeing them every day can help you begin to believe them.
Break Down Your Goals into Manageable Chunks
When making resolutions, a lot of us go for big changes that we want to see. That is great, but sometimes it can seem daunting. One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight. That is great, but you can't expect to drop 100 pounds all at once.
Take that goal and break it down. Do you tend to eat healthy, or do you eat things that aren't good for you? Do you have an exercise routine, or do you need to develop one? Take a look at what you need to do to be healthier and ease yourself into it. If you try to change too many things at once, you are less likely to keep up with this new lifestyle that you want to create.
If you eat unhealthy foods every day you may last a few weeks eating healthy foods before sinking back into your old habits. It often starts with one day, and then you think "Well, I missed yesterday, so I can go ahead and miss today." or "I'll start back on my diet tomorrow." Start with one day a week. Plan out a meal and make sure you have time to make or get the food. Put it in your schedule to remind yourself. When one healthy meal a week stops seeming like a chore, add another day.
The same can be said for working out. Pick a day and time that you know will consistently work for you and put it in your schedule. If you don't exercise regularly, work up to a heavy workout. Spend 15 minutes on the elliptical while listening to music or watching TV. When that gets easy, add to your workout. Another great way to get on a workout routine is to try going to a class or if your budget permits, hire a personal trainer. That way you have other people to motivate you.
Make Realistic Goals
One of the best ways to keep your resolutions is to make sure that your goals are realistic. Be honest with yourself. It is better to make small goals every year that you can build on than to expect to to something huge all at once. You can make all of the huge resolutions you want, but the fact is, you will feel so much better if you can say that you actually achieved them.
It is ok to want something that isn't realistic now. Just because it isn't attainable for you right this moment doesn't mean that it won't be someday. Work toward a goal by making smaller resolutions that you know you can keep and working your way up.
So you want to lose weight. There are a lot of things that can factor in to weight loss. How do you want to lose weight? Do you want to do a cleanse, or try an elimination diet to find if you are sensitive to something? Maybe you just want to eat better or exercise more. Instead of saying "I want to lose x pounds", make your resolution to take specific steps that will lead to that weight loss. Once you have decided specifically how you want to achieve your goal, break it down into small manageable chunks.
Have a Good Support System
Not everyone has people they can rely on to help them, but if you do, use them. Find someone who has similar goals and work toward them together. Have a buddy to go walking with, or share meals with. It is also great to have someone who can help hold you accountable. Make sure it isn't someone who will make you feel bad about yourself, but support and encourage you if you lapse.
On the same note, avoid sharing with people who won't support you. If you know someone will make you feel bad, or be hard on you, don't include them in your goals.
In the end, one of the most important things you can do is to be kind and honest with yourself and find other people who will do the same. I hope you all have a happy new year, and make great resolutions. Feel free to share your own goal keeping techniques and success stories in the comments!
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.