New Year’s resolutions are much more fun to plan than they are to actually carry out. Nearly everyone goes into the new year with good intentions and with a genuine desire to improve their habits and quality of life.
So why is it so hard to stick to them?
It’s not a personal failing; it may have a lot more to do with the type of resolutions you are choosing than your willpower. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to form healthy new habits that are more realistic and that you’ll be able to stick to.
Focus Less on Cutting Stuff Out, and More on Putting Stuff In
Too many people regard New Year’s resolutions as a means of denying themselves the things that they like. And while it may be easy to blame all of our problems on overindulgence, there’s still a better way to go about making healthy changes.
So, rather than saying, “I’m not going to eat dessert anymore” – a resolution that will fall apart as soon as you’re invited to a dinner party – say something like, “I am going to eat more vegetables.” It’s a far more realistic resolution, so you immediately set yourself up to succeed over and over again.
Some other positive resolutions might be: “I want to get more walking and exercise in,” or, “I’m going to prioritize sleep,” or even, “I’m going to plan more of my activities to take place outside.”
Focus on One Thing at a Time
It’s so tempting to list out dozens of resolutions to be achieved at the same time. Rather than trying to implement them all at once, focus on one goal at a time. Once that becomes part of your daily routine, you can begin focusing on the second, then the third, and so on.
Avoid Speaking in Absolutes
The person who says, “I am going to run 20 miles a week,” undoubtedly has good intentions. The problem is, the first time they come in under the 20-mile mark, they’ll view themselves as having “failed.” Once this happens and they believe that they’re a failure, they give up on their resolutions.
Be kind to yourself, and as the saying goes, “don’t let good be the enemy of perfect.” It’s perfectly okay to phrase your resolution in a way that enables you to succeed. Try something like, “I want to run more frequently than I currently do,” or “I’d like to increase my mileage over the course of this year.”
Allow Yourself to Ease In
Sticking with the example above, if you’ve never run a mile in your life, suddenly demanding 20 miles of yourself is not at all realistic. If your goal is to be able to lift a certain amount of weight, understand that you can and should start with the small dumbbells, especially if you’re a novice.
The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate your habits, and make healthy changes. It’s just a matter of approaching them realistically, and setting yourself up for successes, rather than failures.