Before we know it, the holidays will have come and gone and we will be embarking on a new year and a fresh start. Millions across the world will vow to make 2015 a better year by resolving to make changes and do things differently, however, only a small percentage of these people will actually uphold their well-intended resolution. In this post I will share with you the reasons that I think that so many fail to uphold their resolutions, and I will provide tips on how to develop a New Year’s resolution that you are more likely to adhere to.
- WHAT is it that you actually want to achieve and WHY? Almost two years ago I set a goal of losing ten pounds because I wanted to be back at my college weight for my wedding. I wasn’t really focused on what size of clothing I wore, the measurement of my waist, or how toned my muscles were. I simply wanted the scale to tell me I was ten pounds lighter. My plan for achieving this goal was diet and exercise so I joined Weight Watchers and started attending Pilates classes. For my particular body type, diet has always been more important than exercise when I want to lose weight. So, as you can imagine, my plan or resolution to take Pilates classes was short lived. I did, however, continue with my Weight Watchers program until I met my goal. Once you understand what it is that you really want to achieve, you are more likely to choose a path that will allow you to achieve it.
- Evaluate your lifestyle and set resolutions that work within your lifestyle. When it came time to pick a “diet” to help me lose weight, I chose Weight Watchers because I could still have all of the foods that I love, but in moderation. This plan did not require me to significantly alter my lifestyle. A carb-free, caffeine-free, or alcohol-free diet wouldn’t work for me longterm because it is so contrary to my existing lifestyle habits. When resolving to make a change, take baby steps and start by making small changes that you can permanently integrate into your existing lifestyle.
- Break lofty goals down into smaller goals. When I thought about how I would ideally like to look in my wedding dress my vision was the sort of model-type physique that only comes from hours of working out along with a very conservative diet. As I discussed in Step 2, this would have been too big of a lifestyle change for me to commit to all at once. So, instead of focusing on dropping a certain number of pant sizes, losing a certain number of inches and developing a six pack all at once, I identified the one aspect that I thought would have the biggest impact on my appearance – weight loss, and I focused on that one element by choosing a weight loss plan that I could easily integrate into my existing lifestyle. Now that the wedding is over and I have successfully maintained my weight loss for over a year, I realized that I mentally started to shift my focus towards becoming more toned and physically fit. I did not originally set out with the intention of breaking my goal into sections, but in hindsight I realize that dividing a goal into several components is the easiest way for me to make sustainable changes. A healthier diet is now part of my lifestyle and second nature to me, which allows me to now focus on how to incorporate regular exercise into my daily routine.
In summary, understand what it is that you are really setting out to accomplish and know why it is important to you. When developing a strategy to achieve your goal, consider breaking your goal down into several manageable components so that you can start to make progress by making minor and sustainable lifestyle changes. Finally, if you have a bad day or even a bad week where you have regressed in your progress, don’t give up and throw in the towel. Forgive yourself, applaud yourself for the work that you have put in toward accomplishing your goal and jump back on track!