Posts Tagged ‘new year’s resolution’

In part one we looked at what it means to make New Year’s resolutions for your health and what research has to say about them. We also looked at how there is a divide between starting to change your behavior and the actions that are needed to maintain them.

Now we will look at some tips and tricks to help you to do what you have resolved to do at the start of a brand New Year.

Be realistic in your goal setting:

If you want to think big such as “I want to lose 20 pounds this year” or “I want to get killer abs” or “I want to give up smoking completely” then think big but then you must be realistic and reasonable in breaking down your goals into smaller more attainable steps. You want to start with peanuts, which means to start small and then to work from there. If you do not break down your goals into smaller more manageable ones then you will lose focus right away and you will feel like you are facing a huge mountain that you cannot climb and you will give up.

On the other hand if you create smaller goals for yourself then you can chart your progress and you can use positive reinforcement to keep yourself going. Think of small but significant ways to reward yourself once you have reached each one of the smaller goals.

Please note – if you are trying to lose weight then do not reward yourself with food! Perhaps a massage or a movie with a friend would be better choices!

Schedule in your positive changes:

There are vague intentions that end up getting lost in your busy schedule and then there are planned actions that get done. Write things down in your calendar and make sure that you make time to do them. Whether it is going to the gym, taking a walk around the block or researching some healthy meal ideas if you do not schedule time to devote to these things then they will not happen and will get allocated to the back burner of your life.

Walking hand in hand with scheduling time to make your New Year’s resolutions come true is making them a priority. Only you can make them matter in your life so do that!

Keep a progress diary or journal:

Staying motivated is so much easier if you write down your progress. You can use a diary, log, journal or a wall calendar. Whatever you choose make sure you write in it faithfully and keep it close at hand. When you are feeling low and unmotivated then look at your progress so far and this should help to bolster your efforts. It is the “You go girl!” or “You go boy!” mentality at its best!

Keep going!

There may be times when you feel discouraged because results do not seem to be showing themselves as quickly as you had hoped that they would. When this happens just keep going and do not give up on your resolutions! Slip-ups and going two steps back before moving two steps forward are sometimes par for the course.

Do not be too hard on yourself. Realize that these may happen to you and then carry on. If you wallow in self-pity or spend too long pointing an accusing finger at yourself then you are more likely to give up. Instead use the slip-ups as an opportunity to challenge and motivate yourself and then get on with it!


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A new year can mean a new start for your health. You can think of it as turning to a brand new page and starting fresh.

With this clean slate comes the need to be committed to achieving your health related goals.  Even if in years gone by you never kept the resolutions you made for yourself at the start of the year, this year can be different for you because you can change that!

The good news about making New Year’s resolutions for your health is that they are within reach of attaining. According to University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, Ph.D. and the co-author of the book Changing for Good, approximately 40 to 46 percent of those who set resolutions for themselves at the start of a new year will be successful once they reach the six month halfway point of the year. While it would be nice if that percentage was higher it shows that making and keeping resolutions is most definitely doable!

The research also shows that those who make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to make positive changes in their lives as compared to those who do not make resolutions but who have similar goals and the motivation to achieve those goals.

It would appear then that you set up the appropriate mindset in your brain when you resolve to institute healthy changes in your life at the start of a new year. The motivation and drive can be even stronger when you begin on January 1st!

Starting and Maintaining are Not the Same Thing:

What then makes some people fail in their efforts and others succeed (and be in the 40 to 46 percent group)?

You need to understand that starting and being motivated in the first few days and weeks is not the same as what keeps you pressing on towards your goal and it is not what maintains the behavior in the long-term. Practically anyone can resolve to quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more frequently or shed excess pounds. The real challenge is maintaining what you have started. How do you stick to it?

The stick to it attitude and mentality is thought of as adherence and is all about complying with the choice you have made and finding ways to maintain it. The exhilaration, enthusiasm and excitement of starting down this track of making a positive change in your life will wear off before long and what then are you left with?

It takes roughly three to six months for a change you are making in your life to become a part of your life routine. In part two we will look at some ways you can make sure that you honor your New Year’s resolutions and make those health changes that will better your life now!


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