As many wonderfully convenient tools as there are out there, sometimes as adults we still have to do some things for ourselves. There is no snapping your fingers and turning yourself into the person you desire to be. This is the time of year that people often stop to think about what they need to cut out or begin in order to mold themselves into their idea of a "better" them.
45% of adults in the U.S. make one or more resolutions every year. As you may be able to predict, among the top to make the list are resolving to lose weight, to exercise more and to quit smoking. Most people that make their resolutions commit to them hard and after approximately two weeks start going back to their old habits.
Here a few,easy to incorporate tips to help you set your goals and stick to them. Here's to making your 2012 your best year yet!
1) Resolve not to resolve: Quit making resolutions once a year of things you "have to do" and instead set intentions for the way you want your life to look. Setting intentions and getting a clear picture in your mind of what you want the outcome to be is a lot more realistic than making yourself "promise" not to do this or that, which you will later begin resenting and rebelling against.
2) Be realistic: People often make the mistake of deciding to change or add in several new things at once. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and eventually throwing in the towel. Start with one or two simple changes at a time. Once you prove to yourself how easy it is to commit to small changes (often with big results) you will gain the motivation to keep working towards your goals.
3) Focus on the positive: Instead of saying, "I have to start dieting!" or "I am making myself go to the gym 5 times a week," try using more positive, motivating phrases such as "I am looking forward to learning how to make healthier food choices," or "I am going to start incorporating healthy movement into my routine regularly." Little twists on those phrases can turn what feels like a chore into something that feels more like a goal.
4) Write it down and revisit it regularly: Write down your vision for how you want your life to look a month from now, 6 months from now, or even a year from now. Underneath list a few steps that you can take to start making that vision your reality. Before going to sleep at night and upon waking up in the morning, simply read it to yourself and keep the vision clear in your mind.
5) No punishments allowed!: Reward yourself for your accomplishments. If you set an intention to start exercising regularly and you made it to the gym 4 times this week, treat yourself to something special. It can be something as simple as a relaxing bath with soothing music, or something bigger that you may have been holding off on treating yourself to. Just make sure your rewards do not contradict your goals (ie. I worked out today so I am going to eat a tub of ice cream for dessert!). If you did not reach your goal or fell off the wagon a bit (maybe that piece of birthday cake at your friends party was just too irresistible!), do not throw your commitment out the window. Today is a new day and you can certainly get yourself back on track.
6) Ask for support: Regardless of what your goals are for the upcoming year, we can all use support. If your goal is to take more time for yourself, ask a family member to watch the kids for an hour a week. If your goal is to start a new exercise routine, consider purchasing a few personal training sessions. For those of you whose goal is to lose weight, become more balanced or take control of your health, hire a health coach. Talking to friends, family members or a coach will not only help you gain the support you need and get closer to reaching your goals, but it is an incredible way to help you to stay motivated.
Good luck on your journey. I hope it's a great ride!