We’re now a few months into the new year, which means it’s the perfect time to reassess your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like most people, you gave up on your resolutions within the first month, and likely because your resolutions were too lofty, too unrealistic, or not specific enough.
The year is far from over, so today we’re sharing a few tricks to get you back on track with your healthy living goals.
Reevaluate your resolutions
Did you select your New Year’s resolution after a long period of self-reflection? If not, you may want to reevaluate your resolution. Perhaps you vowed to never eat carbs again because you had the world’s worst stomachache after an indulgent Christmas dinner. Or maybe you swore off dating after you had your heart crushed in 2016. While these are perfectly normal responses to uncomfortable and upsetting experiences, they’re probably not realistic long-term resolutions.
So, carve out some time to think about whether the goals you set for yourself on January 1st are goals that you truly care about and can see yourself achieving.
Spell it out
Every year, the most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get healthy. But if millions of Americans are resolving to lose weight and get healthy, surely that resolution looks can take millions of forms. So be very specific about what your goals are. You’re much more likely to succeed if you concretize your goal from “lose weight” to “lose 10 pounds by the end of June.”
After you reframe your resolution, write down three to five concrete steps you’re going to take to meet that goal. For instance, “I will eat at least four servings of vegetables every day,” “I will not eat added sugar during the week,” and “I will bring my lunch to work at least three times a week.”
If you’re the type of person who gets satisfaction from crossing off an item on your to-do-list, create a simple chart that tracks your progress. If you meet your concrete goals for that day or week, indulge in the act of checking it off your list.
Schedule it in
Another major reason most of us fall short of our resolutions is poor time management. You may have vowed to learn a new hobby this year, but if you didn’t rearrange your schedule to fit that hobby in, you likely won’t “have the time” to work on this hobby.
Was your New Year’s resolution was to exercise more? If so, you’ll need to both spell it out (see #2 above) and schedule it in. Create an exercise schedule that works for your life and goals, whether it’s blocking out an hour a day in your day planner or scheduling your gym sessions in your iCalendar. Treating your workouts as doctor’s appointments or work meetings renders them important in your mind, making you less likely to skip them.
The next step? Schedule in ancillary steps that will make it easier for you to exercise. If you’re a morning gym-goer, try setting a bedtime alarm clock at night to ensure you get enough rest before you wake up in the morning. If you exercise after work, carve out dedicated nights for gym time and reserve remaining nights for leisure.
Going it alone is another major reason you may be falling behind on your resolutions. Many of us crave external support, and if you’re one of those people, you’ll be more likely to stick to your goals if you have an external accountability system.
For instance, if your goal is to save money and spend less on frivolous items, keep an expenditure log and send it to a frugal friend or family member on a weekly basis. Even better, ask them to assess your spending habits and recommend areas where you can cut down on spending.
If you and a friend share the same goal of reading more books, start a book club. Or have a friendly competition. Agree to read two new books a month, and if you don’t meet your shared goal this month, you get the pleasure of paying for dinner during your next get-together.
Think of yourself
Your future self, that is. We are much kinder to our future selves than we are to our present selves. We enroll in 401Ks to ensure that our future selves are financially stable. We study in high school and college so that our future selves can earn a decent living. We buy Beyonce tickets a year in advance so that our future selves can bask in the glory of Queen Bey for one night.
In other words, considering how your life will be affected in the future makes it more likely that you will make good decisions and practice self-control in the present.
So, why not apply this very common way of thinking to your goals? If your goal is to drink less alcohol, think of how much better you’ll feel in the future if you follow through with that goal. You’ll have more energy, you’ll lose weight, you’ll make less embarrassing decisions, you’ll save money. The list goes on.
If your goal is to eat more Hungryroot this year, think about how much better you’ll feel in a few weeks. You’ll have more energy, you’ll feel healthier, your tastebuds will be happier. The list goes on and on.