It’s been about a week since New Year’s and not to be a negative Nancy, but I bet a decent amount of people are already giving up on their resolutions. Change is hard. There are a lot of past, external, and out of our control factors that all affect who we are and what we do. If you work 12 hours a day, you probably won’t make it to the gym or prepare home cooked meals 3x a day, no matter how much you want to. Here are a few tips to make sticking to those resolutions a little bit easier.
1. Most importantly, be realistic. If you can barely drag your butt of bed at 10 am, odds are, you probably won’t get up everyday at 5. If you detest any form of physical movement, you probably aren’t going to go to the gym everyday. Pick smaller goals that you have more of a chance of accomplishing. Of course it’s wonderful to be optimistic, but achieving smaller goals will make you feel good and will get the ball rolling for bigger goals.
2. Be specific. Wrong: “I want to lose weight this year.” Right: “I want to lose 15 lbs by January 1st 2012.” Better: “I want to lose 5 lbs by March, 10 lbs by July, and 15 lbs overall by November.” Wrong: “I want to save money.” Right: “I will put aside $10 from every paycheck into a special savings account.”
3. Have a plan. This goes along with being specific. What workout at the gym will you do? What time are you going to go everyday? Do some research and plan out your grocery list ahead of time to stay within your budget/diet. Make it easier for yourself by doing all the planning at one time (think making meals on Sunday and freezing them for the week) and then just turn on autopilot.
4. Make it public. You can announce it on your blog, or just tell family and friends. Holding yourself accountable will also make you feel good when you achieve your goals. Even better, post infomation on how you’re doing. Post pictures if you’re losing weight/going to the gym, sign up for a service like dailyburn and input what foods you ate, or have a fun little thermometer picture to announce how close you are to saving for your cruise.
5. Get emotional. You have to genuinely want to change in order for it to happen. You’ll have a better chance of losing 50 lbs because you’re obese rather than if you want to lose 5 lbs because you think you’ll look better in your skinny jeans. You’ll be more likely to save money if you imagine your dream vacation of sipping coffee in a little cafe outside of the Eiffel Tower everyday, rather than just seeing numbers in your bank account. Make sure your goal is linked to something important to you and each day remind yourself why you are working hard.
6. Set a specific length of time to fully commit. If you’re going to quit smoking cold turkey, do it for one month with no exceptions. After a month, maybe you’ll decide you don’t want to quit, but it’ll be a lot easier to continue on. After a month of good behavior, it’ll be a lot easier for a habit to stick with you.
7. Expect failures and get back on track. There’s a good chance you’ll falter a little bit in your plans for a new you, expect it. It’s impossible to be perfect. BUT don’t decide to throw your diet out the window just because you binged once. Start again with a clean slate on Monday.
8. Constantly evaluate your progress. Is it working for you? Are you happier/thinner/richer because you’re progressing? Or are you stressed/tired/irritable? If you vow to not let a single carb touch your lips for a whole year, but notice that you’re not losing any weight AND you’re miserable, it’s probably time for another plan.