With 2013 coming to a close, many of us are thinking about what we want to do differently next year.
New Year’s resolutions are filled with good intentions, but unfortunately, many of them are overly ambitious and unrealistic. While resolutions help up set goals, not many people follow through with them.
The No. 1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get in shape. Losing 10 pounds by summer may seem like a reasonable goal, but it’s missing a plan to get there. Instead, resolve to change your lifestyle and make individual goals into an action plan of steps to take to get you where you want to be.
Here are some simple steps you can take to help you reach your goals in 2014:
Write down the changes you want to make and prioritize them. Focus on small changes, such as eating green vegetables at least once per day, going to the gym at least three times per week, or replacing processed foods with whole foods. Once you’ve organized your goals, write them down and put them up somewhere you’ll see them constantly such as your fridge or bathroom mirror.
Take it slow
Start by tackling one goal at a time. Being overly ambitious and trying to do everything at the same time will leave you feeling overwhelmed and more likely to give up before reaching any of your goals. Instead, after you’ve prioritized your list, tackle one goal at a time, and give yourself two to four weeks to accomplish it. Once that goal has become a habit, start on the next goal.
Don’t deprive yourself; it could end up backfiring. If you vow never to eat candy again, chances are that within a few weeks you’ll be craving it so much you’ll end up giving in and bingeing. Instead, allow yourself to have an occasional treat to keep you from feeling deprived. The times you do choose to indulge, make sure it’s the highest quality you can find; choose an organic dark chocolate bar instead of a highly processed candy bar filled with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Make it a family affair
Involve your family in helping you reach your goals. Setting goals for your family, instead of only yourself will help motivate all of you and help keep each other accountable. Reaching a goal of being healthier is much easier to stick to when everyone in the household is on the same page. Making healthy choices is easy when you’re all doing it together.
Use positive affirmations to help you reach your goals. Remind yourself daily of the positive changes you’re making in your life, and focus on all the benefits instead of dwelling on the negative. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t have something, talk about what you’re adding. There’s a different feeling in saying “I can’t have carbohydrates” than in saying “I will eat green vegetables at least once a day.” Using “at least” also gives you the opportunity to surpass your goals, which can help give you the confidence to keep reaching more of them.
As you begin to set your New Year’s resolutions, think about the things that are important to you. How do you want your life to feel at the end of next year? Ask the people in your life that have inspired you how they’ve reached their goals, and use that as inspiration when it comes to brainstorming your own.
Have a happy and healthy New Year!