By: Mariama Tunkara, Contributing Writer
Photo courtesy of medicalnewstoday.com
Now that January is long gone, are your New Year’s resolutions gone too?
A new year symbolizes a new chapter in life. A resolution is a promise to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad, beginning on the first day of the coming year. A New Year’s resolution can be anything that you want to improve about yourself. It should be personal and specific to your life experiences and abilities.
Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions consist of eating healthier and exercising more or losing weight. Other resolutions include saving money, quitting cigarettes, reading more or learning a new skill. Despite what you have chosen your resolution to be, they require self- discipline and self-control. Setting too many goals may hinder this, and setting an unrealistic goal increases the likelihood of fully abandoning the resolution early in the year.
According to Business Insider, 80 percent of resolutions are abandoned by February. Within just a few weeks, many people have given up on themselves and decide not to carry out their promise to be a better, healthier person. Many resolutions fail for a number of different reasons:
- It is being treated as a sprint, instead of a marathon
- It is not specific enough
- Progress is not being tracked
- You don’t know why you want this change
Here are some tips to keep you going strong with your resolution:
- Don’t try to take the easy way out and settle for a quick fix. Understand that the resolution is a journey to be carried out through 365 days.
- Be specific with what exactly you want to change within yourself, and make a plan designed especially for that task.
- Conduct bi-weekly or monthly checkpoints with yourself.
- Create a written log where you can write down your progress.
- Create a personal timeline with stages of progress.
- Determine your motivation for wanting this change and your desired outcome.
- Use a friend or support group to help keep you disciplined throughout your process.
- Prepare for difficult days. Have a plan set for when you feel the urge to relapse or not follow your original plan.
New Year’s resolutions do not have to be a grand gesture of change – they can be small, simple adjustments you make that contribute to a bigger change. If change is difficult for you, try making smaller resolutions with shorter time constraints.
For those with health and nutrition based resolutions, start with evaluating your current diet and exercise routine. This makes it easier to determine which behaviors need to be adjusted in order to achieve your goals. This might include cutting out saturated fats from your diet, or making the shift to more nutrient dense foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beverages without added sugars. You can also seek help from a professional, whether it be your primary care physician or a registered dietitian, to assist in designing a plan for you to follow.
Lastly, remember it is okay to have a lapse. It’s never too late to pick up where you left off.