New Year’s Resolutions: Your How’s and Why’s

It’s that time of year when the calendar changes, and many of us set out to make our own changes.  I am willing to bet that most of you have set a New Year’s Resolution at some point.  I even had to make some for school assignments growing up.

The truth is, though, that the majority of resolutions simply do not work.  Many people can start strong with their resolution, but by the time February rolls around, these changes have been forgotten because they never became a habit.

One of the reasons that resolutions do not work is because many people set them just to set them.  They have wanted to make changes for a while, and they decided that the new year is the “ideal” time to start changing some of their behaviors.  However, if you do not have a true motivator and a real plan to achieve these goals, it will be harder and harder to reach a successful point.

We are not here to say do not set your resolutions by any means!  We are here to help you set goals that you are successful in achieving.

Here are some tips to help you set these resolutions:

1. Find your why

When it comes to setting resolutions, figure out the reason behind why you want to achieve that goal.  Setting a resolution just to set one will not be very motivating.  Figure out why you want to make these changes.  If they are healthy behavior changes, are you wanting to be able to move around more with your grandchildren?  Do you want to eliminate certain medications?  Do you want to be able to walk your daughter down the aisle without joint pain?  Find the things that are motivating to you beyond simply setting a resolution, and you will be more likely to stick to the goal that you are hoping to achieve.

2. Set steps to help you reach your long-term goals

Honestly, the easiest part about setting a resolution is the simple act of stating that as your goal.  Now comes the hardest part.  How are you going to get there?  While it would certainly be easier if we could snap our fingers and say, “Resolution achieved,” it simply doesn’t work that way.  If you have a goal that you want to achieve, especially if it is something that is long-term or habit-forming, figuring out the steps that you are going to use is the most important piece of achieving a goal.  For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 50 pounds.  What steps are you going to take to get there?  Break it down into smaller components to where each step is 10 pounds down or 1 month down on this journey, etc.  What habits are you going to use to get yourself to your goal?  Take one at a time that you want to focus on, like increasing your water intake (there’s a step), incorporating vegetables into each meal (there’s a step), and decreasing your portion sizes (there’s another step).  Now that you have set your goal, designate different steps you will take to get there, and each time you achieve one, it motivates you to continue moving towards your long-term goals.

3. Focus on the process

While the time going by may seem to be going slowly (or the pounds decreasing slowly in the above example), think about everything that you are learning in this process.  Are you gaining confidence in yourself to turn down sweet treats from your coworkers?  Are you developing more mobility as you lose weight to play with your kids?  Are you learning new recipes that you can make that still help you work towards your goals?  Are you learning about different food groups and how foods affect your system and results?  Rather than only thinking about how far you have to go, think about how far you have already come.  Remember back then when you wished you were right where you are now?  That’s a good feeling.

4. Find ways to reward yourself

Who doesn’t like a few rewards for your hard work every now and then?  Make sure you have ways to treat yourself as you make progress on each step working towards your goal.  I do encourage you to find some healthy rewards for yourself that do not involve food.  They can be things like getting a new outfit, getting a massage, taking a long bubble bath, watching your favorite movie, or anything else that is something that you can look forward to as a reward when you reach different steps on your journey.

5. Be flexible

This is an important one as our plans are not always what happens in reality.  When you have a plan A, think about your plan B if the first one does not work out.  This is especially important if you have some kind of timeline that you have for yourself (like the example of walking your daughter down the aisle).  Sometimes, our goals take a little longer to achieve, but being flexible and adapting your plans as you go is helpful for continuing to push forward towards your goals.  Let’s say you are working on some healthier habits, and you pack your lunch but forgot it at home; what is your plan B to help you stay on track?  Knowing how to be flexible and adapt as you go will be helpful as you are working towards your long-term goals and resolutions.

6. Establish your support system

While I am sure that many of us dreamed about being a superhero when we were younger, the truth is that even a lot of superheroes were not “one-man teams.”  Who is going to be your support system as you are working towards your goals?  Are you going to have a spouse help you fix the healthiest foods?  Are you going to have your friends ask you to do physical activities instead of going to happy hours?

While setting these resolutions can be daunting, allow us to expand your support system to include our team members here at Align Weight Loss and Body Balancing.  What goals can we help you achieve today?

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