Making and Keeping New Year’s Health Resolutions — How much money would you bet that you’re going to keep your New Year’s resolutions this year? Just think of what it will do to your self-esteem if you could pull it off! These tips can help.
Be realistic. Don’t confuse reasonable expectations with realistic expectations. Reasonable means “makes sense.” Realistic means “likely to happen.” It may be reasonable to stop smoking, start a new diet and begin exercising, but it may not be realistic to change all of them at once.
Set specific goals. Most people have a clearer idea of how they want to feel (as in happier, healthier, richer) than they have a clear picture of what things need to be done to get there. You know the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The reverse is more often true, i.e. “Where there’s a way, there’s a will.” Have a step-by-step plan for how to achieve your goals.
Anticipate problems. There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.
Write it down. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, would you? Write down what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing to reach your goals. Writing down your goals and plans increases your commitment.
Tell other people. Telling other people you’re going to do something increases your commitment. Select people that you respect and admire, and whose respect you would like to receive.
Use the buddy system. Partner with someone who is also trying to keep their New Year’s resolutions to increase your dedication. Stopping negative habits and replacing them with positive behavior is easier when you have a buddy system with a good friend or co-worker. Doing New Year’s Resolutions with another person reduces the pain of doing without that unhealthy habit you’re trying to break.
Get the negative people out of your life. One reason you fall off diets and exercise programs is that you need a quick fix every time you deal with negative people or no-win situations. These can be so exhausting that you may say, “forget it”. Find a way to reduce contact with these people and situations and you’ll dramatically increase your energy and be able to stay on track.
Stick with it. Realize that it takes 30 days for a change in behavior to become a habit (this may explain why they give out 30 day chips for maintaining sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous) and six months for a habit to become a natural part of your personality.
Accept failure. If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or miss whatever resolution you are trying for, don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.
Health-reporting with sources: Life Hack