We’re all familiar with the yearly ritual of making New Year’s Resolutions. Our intentions are good, and we start out strong—often to find ourselves quickly slipping back into old, familiar, and sometimes baffling behavioral patterns. Why can’t we lose the weight, save more money, remove all sugar from our diets, and get to the gym five times a week?
New Year’s Resolutions have a high failure rate because they often include unrealistic goals. If you drink eight sodas a day, your body is going to crave them if you suddenly cut them out completely. Here are three quick alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions that will increase your chances for success:
- Take baby steps. Instead of thinking about the start of your goal, think about the end game. If you want to lose twenty pounds, imagine how good you’ll feel when you’ve accomplished that by the end of the year, then work backwards to determine how much weight you’ll need to lose each month. Chances are, it won’t take you an entire year to lose twenty pounds (or maybe it will, and that’s okay, too), but implementing small changes in your diet and exercise routine over twelve months will ensure that your new habits are more likely to stick.
- Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. If you work sixty hours a week and have a family, you probably aren’t going to have time to ride your bicycle around White Rock Lake for two hours every day. But you would probably have time for twenty minutes three times a week on a treadmill. No, you won’t burn as many calories or enjoy the great outdoors, but you’ll still be making progress toward better health.
- Treat yourself like you would a friend. No one is perfect. You will likely experience some backsliding and disappointments. Resiliency is the key. Don’t turn a temporary failure into an excuse for giving up altogether. Instead, offer yourself some grace, acknowledge the mistakes, and recommit to your original goal—tweaking it a bit if needed.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful 2018!