Did you make healthy New Year’s resolutions for 2019? If you are like many, your goals for the coming year may have included losing weight, exercising more, or simply getting healthy.
Like a lot of people, you might have also seen your resolutions fall by the wayside, causing you some frustration and other negative feelings.
Though most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned before the end of the winter, that doesn’t have to be the case for you. This is true even if you have already stopped hitting the gym, eating salads for lunch, or taking your vitamins.
Here are some tips on how to get back on track to achieving your healthy New Year’s resolutions so you can look forward to a happier, healthier you by the end of 2019.
1) Take Baby Steps
You might have an overall resolution to lose 50 or 100 pounds, but that isn’t something that you’re going to be able to achieve in the first month or 2 of the year. Rather than look at an overwhelming goal, break it up into small steps.
What can you do during the month of February to keep on track toward getting closer to your goal?
What can you do each week?
One way to take baby steps is to create a new habit each month. Over the course of 10 or 12 months, these habits will work together to create a healthier you. If you are trying to lose weight, for example, your 1-per-month habits might include eating fruit with your breakfast each day, bringing a lunch to work each day rather than hitting the drive-through or vending machine, and taking a 10-minute walk during the middle of the afternoon when you might otherwise take a coffee-and-cookie break.
If you are simply trying to get healthier, you could try adding a veggie to every lunch and dinner, taking some time to meditate each evening, and remembering to take your vitamins every morning.
Since a habit takes between 21 and 28 days to develop, giving yourself a full month will allow for a few forgetful days and still give you the chance to enter the subsequent month following one more healthy habit for long-term success.
2) Start Fresh Anytime
When starting a new healthy lifestyle habit, most people decide to begin on the first of the month or on a Monday.
Consciously defeat that line of thinking!
The fact that we are a month into a new year doesn’t mean that you have to wait until 2020 to set a new resolution. You can start any Tuesday or on the 17th of the month.
In fact, it might be a good exercise to begin your new habit on a random day and avoid starting on a Monday. Starting on a Wednesday, for example, gives you 10 days of success before the second weekend on the plan. At that point, you might decide to take one of the weekend days off and then get right back on track for another 2 weeks before taking another day off.
3) Put It in Writing
If you write down your goals and intended habits, you have a higher chance of achieving them. You might type them out on a web forum that is filled with people who have similar goals. Or, you might jot them down in a journal or on a sticky note that you put on your bathroom mirror.
The key might be to read those goals back to yourself aloud. Speaking affirmatively to yourself first thing in the morning can help you stay on track as you go through your day.
It can become part of your morning routine:
- Sit up in bed.
- Grab your journal.
- Read your habit of the month aloud.
- Tell yourself that you can do it and that you will achieve this goal.
4) Consider Where Things Have Gone Right and Wrong in the Past
If this is not the first time you have made healthy New Year’s resolutions, think about why you didn’t succeed in the past. Also, consider what did go right for you previously.
If you stuck to your resolution for 2 weeks this year, what were you doing that made it possible?
Take some time to reflect on these thoughts so you can decide what changes have—and have not—worked for you.
For example, you might find that when you woke up and immediately put on sweatpants and sneakers, you were much more likely to go for a walk before breakfast. However, you might remember that you got a shoe-holder in your mudroom a few weeks ago, and you started putting your sneakers in it when you walked in the house. Without your shoes next to your bed, you stopped putting them on right away and this led to you abandoning your walking habit. A simple action like putting your sneakers next to your bed or in your bathroom the night before can lead to you following through with your walk.
When you are aware of how small actions impact how you behave in various situations, you are more likely to be able to tweak your actions to impact your results. Think about how you might be able to get back on track or make it more likely that you will continue to stay on track as you work toward the goal of better health.