31 Dec 5 Tips to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions
5 Tips to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions
Well, folks, here we are! We’ve arrived. It’s officially 2020! Hooray!
Some of us have entered 2020 on top of the world, while others have felt like we were crawling through 2019 on our hands and knees (barefoot and in shorts) across broken glass… at the end of a marathon. Ugh! But in whatever way you ended your 2019 and entered this hopeful 2020, at least you’re here. Now let’s try to make this year better than the last one, shall we?
Whether your previous year was awesome or a total sh*t-show, you’ve probably already made a few New Year’s resolutions without any real plan (or often intention) of implementing them. Research shows that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. Many don’t even make it that far. Face it- we are going make a few resolutions that we will undoubtedly break – some before the sun has even set on Day 1 of 2020. Ugh. It’s so frustrating! We begin the new year filled with good intentions, and often we end in failure. And why? Because people often set unrealistic goals. To quote my best friend, Gina, “Two days into my diet and I’m still not skinny. This is bullsh*t!”
However difficult it may be to implement real change for 2020, it IS possible. After all, isn’t that what the New Year is all about? The Hope of the Possible. There is hope that we can successfully make real, positive change in our lives. But to do so, we may have to reel in those overly ambitious (and thus, impossible to keep) New Year’s resolutions and replace them with a few baby steps that are actually attainable.
Here are my 5 tips for keeping those 2020 resolutions:
1. Start small. Don’t make a New Year’s resolution vowing to “drop 10 pounds.” Many of you who are reading this have, no doubt, made such a resolution. Now, some of you will stick to your guns. (Congratulations, but I’m telling you — back off before things go south. Because it’s likely they will. Not because I don’t believe in you, but because you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Pardon the pun.) Others, however, have starved yourselves to the breaking point, which has resulted in you then devouring everything in sight, and now you’re currently beating yourself up for it. By the way, if you are like most of America, “Beating yourself up” means you have said “F*ck it,” thrown your diet out the window, and you’re most likely eating an entire bag of Cheetos while reading this blog. Uggh. So here is the “diet” trick that will keep you on track to lose the weight you desire. DON’T DIET… EVER. (Because there is no such thing as a “diet” that is healthy.) Instead, change that impressive (but impossible) resolution to something smaller and more attainable. For example, instead of “I’m going to lose 10 pounds,” change your resolution to “I’m going to eat a healthy salad for lunch 3 days a week, instead of my usual fast food.” Start small. You can always add subsequent goals on later.
2. Be specific. If “I’m going to exercise more” or “I’m going to join a gym” were your New Year’s resolutions, you probably wont do much of either for an extended period of time. Especially if exercise hasn’t been a regular part of your life. If you rarely worked out in 2019, chances are you’re not going to miraculously become a 7-day-a-week gym rat with bulging biceps and ripped abs in 2020. Your current physical state didn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect to see change take place immediately. It takes time, and the more specific you are about the task at hand, the more likely you are to put in the time it takes to reach your goals. Broad resolutions just set us up for failure. Change these vague resolutions into specific executions: something like: “I’m going to join Jo’s Gym and attend the Total Body Toning Class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:30.”
3. Write it down. I’m a big believer in the power of putting pen to paper. Somehow things seem more real when they are staring back at you in your own handwriting. It’s sort of like making a contract with yourself. Make sure, however, that your written list doesn’t get stuffed into a drawer and forgotten about. Tape it to your refrigerator door or your bathroom mirror – someplace where you will see it every day.
4. Get help. Enlisting a friend to help keep you motivated is always a good idea. If you know that your friend is waiting for you at that yoga class you’ve signed up for, you are less likely to talk yourself into skipping it. But, in addition to having friends or family members help keep you on track, I suggest calling on professionals whenever possible. Hire a nutritionist, if only for a consultation, to teach you how to really eat healthy. Pay for a few sessions with a personal trainer to help you learn how to work those bizarre machines in the gym. We have to learn how to truly eat healthy and how to exercise efficiently before we can expect any real change in our outcomes.
5. Don’t beat yourself up. Failure is a part of life, folks. And perfection is unattainable. You may miss going to the gym one week. Or you may have accidentally found yourself facedown in a plate of nachos. (It happens.) One thing’s for certain: It’s not going to help the situation if you say “F-it,” and then throw the entire new eating plan away. You are not a failure; you just had a little slip. You are capable of living a healthy life. Change that negative internal dialogue, and get a grip on yourself.
So there you have it. Start Small, Be Specific, Write it Down, Get Help and Don’t Beat Yourself Up.
Let’s start 2020 with a real plan for positive change!