It’s that time of year again! Everyone is looking forward to a brighter future and thinking about the person they’d like to become over the next year. New Year’s resolutions are an annual tradition, but it seems like most people lose track of their goals by February. It is possible to keep your resolutions and stick to your goals – there are just a few steps you need to follow to help you.
5 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Goals
Work On One Goal at a Time
We all have an ‘ideal’ version of ourselves in our minds. Maybe this ideal version of you does yoga daily, has regular manicures and facials, never loses their cool, and only eats healthy, home-cooked meals. But it can be pretty overwhelming to decide to achieve all those goals at once! Pick one goal at a time and focus on making it a habit. For example, if you want to learn yoga, download an app and commit to doing 25 minutes of yoga each day. Once you’ve integrated that habit into your life, move onto the next small goal. Remember that transformation is achieved with small ‘wins’ – it doesn’t happen overnight!
Common New Year’s goals are “lose weight,” “be more fit,” and “eat healthier.” However, those goals are too abstract to be achievable. Think about concrete ways you can make your goals a reality. For example: instead of “lose weight,” your goal could be “keep a food diary to track my calories and reduce my calorie consumption by 200-500 calories per day;” instead of “be more fit,” your goal could be “download a workout app and follow an exercise routine for 30 minutes, five times a week;” and instead of “eat healthier” your goal could be “find new recipes I enjoy and cook a healthy meal for dinner, six days a week.”
Build Your Community
Don’t keep your goal a secret! Be enthusiastic and tell your family and friends about your goal. You’ll feel more motivated to stick to your plan when you know you’ll be getting daily text messages from your support group asking how it’s going. You can also reach out to online communities that correspond to your goal, such as online fitness or healthy recipe groups. It’s helpful to have a supportive group of like-minded people who will motivate you and hold you accountable when you feel like falling off track.
Be Kind to Yourself
You will slip up sometimes and that’s okay. People aren’t perfect and nobody expects you to be perfect. Give yourself room to have an ‘off’ day and start over. For example, instead of exercising daily, your goal should be to work out five days a week, so you have some ‘wiggle room’ to skip a day when you need to. If your goal is to eat healthy, home-cooked dinners, give yourself a cheat day once a week to eat a slice of pizza with your family. As your new lifestyle change becomes a habit, you might feel less inclined to take advantage of cheat days, but in the beginning it’s important to give yourself some space to adjust.
Sometimes we need professional support to help us reach our goal, and that’s okay! Everyone needs to start somewhere. If you’re really struggling to change your habits, a therapist might be able to help you change unhealthy behaviours that are holding your back. If you struggle with emotional eating, a therapist can help you learn healthier coping mechanisms. There are also other types of support, such as dietitians and personal trainers. If healthy eating is new to you, a dietitian can help you learn what a healthy eating plan and proper portion sizes look like. If you’re new to fitness, a few sessions with a personal trainer who specializes in working with beginners can help you learn basic techniques and poses, so you feel more confident moving forward.
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