The New Year is filled with celebration, fun, excitement and of course, resolutions. Often resolutions are goals, promises, and commitments we make to others and ourselves. Resolutions are a great way to make some healthy changes in our lives and can also lead us to think about how we want to improve our next year.
New Year’s Resolutions
Most of the population makes a New Year’s resolution. In fact, over 60% of people actually create one and about half of them are health-related. Unfortunately, less than 10% of people will actually maintain their resolution. This is not to say that making goals for ourselves is bad, or that you should expect to fail. Abandoning resolutions has more to do with the types of goals we create, rather than a reflection of our own personal determination.
How to Create an Achievable Goal
Here are some tips on how to make some health-related resolutions and more importantly, how to maintain them.
❖ Make it Specific and Reasonable Have you ever made a resolution like, “I’m going to go to the gym more?” This tip is for you. Goals should be specific so that you can better measure your achievement and hold yourself accountable. Instead of “I’m going to go to the gym more,” try wording the goal as specific as possible by including when you will do the workout and what you will be doing. A more specific goal would be, “Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I will go to the gym to walk 30 minutes.” With a resolution like this, you will feel more obligated to go because you know the goal is to go on certain days for a specific amount of time. In addition, choose a resolution you like and that is reasonable for you. Do you like running? If not, then maybe choose a different exercise when writing a goal to increase your physical activity. When you pick something you do not like, it can be tough to maintain it.
❖ Achieve vs. Avoid Try to make a goal that frames a resolution as an addition, not a subtraction. For example, instead of “eat out less,” think of it as “getting to eat home-cooked meals at least 5 times a week.” Framing a message more positively can help to keep you motivated.
❖ Avoid Weight-Centered Goals It can be very easy to fall into the trap of a certain weight as a goal. Weight can be specific and measurable, but it does not explain how you are going to get to the weight. Try making your goal the activities that are associated with weight loss instead. For example, “This year I will have a fruit or vegetable with lunch and dinner four days a week” or “I will run for 30 minutes every weekday after work.”
❖ Aim for Joyful Movement One of the many reasons it can be hard to stick to an exercise resolution is because we just do not like it. Joyful movement encourages a positive exercise experience. If you are dreading almost every workout you do, this might be something to consider. At Carolina Meadows, we offer yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, Wii system, Flexercise, aquatic classes, golf, tennis, croquet, personal training…and many more! Classes range in levels of difficulty, so there is a fit for everyone.
❖ Point out Your Good Days and Bad Days Sometimes we do not highlight our good days enough or hold ourselves accountable on the bad days. Did you have a great day at the gym today? Recognize it and be proud of yourself! Did you travel a lot one week and it threw you off schedule? Recognize that too, but do not get too down. Remember that one bad week is not representative of an entire year or even one month.
Hopefully with these tips, you can create and maintain some healthy New Year’s resolutions. But first, celebrate and enjoy the beginning of 2020, and Happy New Year!