It’s that time of year again! New Year’s Day is around the corner and many of us are starting to think about making a resolution. But how do you stick to your resolution and not give up before Valentine’s Day? We’ve listed some tips below on how to make and keep momentum toward your New Year’s resolution throughout the year.
Make a smart resolution
When you start to think about your goals for the new year, creating a S.M.A.R.T goal will set you up for success. What goes into a S.M.A.R.T. goal?
- Specific – Goals should be specific so you can measure them. For each goal, answer “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?”
- Measurable – Find a way to measure your goal so you can assess your progress. One way to measure progress is to keep a detailed food and exercise log.
- Attainable – Make goals that are challenging but reachable. You want to push yourself a little, but don’t make goals that you have a very small chance of achieving.
- Realistic and Relevant – Set a goal that fits your lifestyle and will have an impact on your specific situation.
- Timely – Pick a time frame for achieving your goal. Six weeks? Six months?
Take it one step at a time
Sometimes looking at the big picture of what you would like to achieve can be overwhelming. Set yourself up for success by creating short-term goals that will ultimately lead you to your long-term goal. For example, is your goal to go from drinking 4 sodas daily to cutting out soda completely? Instead of trying to complete this goal overnight, try reducing your soda intake by one drink daily each week until you reach your goal.
Make time for your resolution
Is your New Year’s resolution to exercise more? Schedule time for your exercise routine in your planner; then it seems more like an “appointment” you can’t miss. Trying to avoid eating fast-food for lunch? Schedule time either on the weekend or the night before to make lunches for the week, or try making extra for dinner to bring as leftovers for lunch. We all have busy schedules, but taking just 5-10 minutes out of your day to schedule time for your resolution can lead to success!
Track and assess your progress
Find a way to track your progress. If food is involved in your resolution, keep a daily food log to track your intake. Once you have been working on your goal for some time, you can assess your progress by reviewing your food log. You will have the information necessary to know where you stand and make adjustments if needed.
Why is this goal important to you? Are you eating healthier to increase your energy level? Losing weight so you can better keep up with your kids or grandkids? Remembering why you made this resolution will provide encouragement throughout the process, especially when challenges arise.
Have a back-up plan
There will be challenges along the way to your goal. Make sure you have a back-up plan when something comes up that could deter your progress. For example, if co-workers want to go out to eat after work but you are trying to eat healthier, look up the menu ahead of time to find a healthy choice.
Don’t give up
Making a healthy lifestyle change may start with a lot of momentum, but after time that momentum can start to slow down. If something doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up! If you find yourself not making progress, take time to sit down and reassess your plan. One of the biggest challenges of making a healthy lifestyle change is maintenance. Goals should not be “all or nothing.” Instead, learn from slip-ups and try to understand what you can do differently next time. Did you miss 2 days of planned exercise this week because your child started basketball practice on the days you typically exercise? Sit down and re-evaluate which days and times work best for your exercise routine.
May small changes add up to major successes in this new year.