A Beginners Guide: Achieve Your New Year's Resolution
2021 is almost here. There is no doubt that most of us have made new year resolutions each year but I think most of us are beginners at successfully accomplishing them. Why is that? How can we have such an amazing motivation to make and complete New Year resolutions but instead have them fail so epically a week or a month later?
Studies show that about 3 in 10 Americans will set a New Year's resolution. The most common resolutions being diet, exercise habits and personal finances. I know I personally could set a resolution in all of those!
But after years of trying to set New Year resolutions, most people are kind of done with setting these goals. Why? Well 1 in 8 Americans are using the same resolution from years before because they still haven't been able to actually succeed.
Not only am I going to help you turn that around and make it possible for you to complete your New Years resolution, I'm also going to give you some tips to make your goals achievable! Let's get started.
1. Baby Steps - From a young age we are encouraged to set a goal for New Years but never how. Our parents don't expect us to run before we walk or walk before we crawl. So why do we rush into activities and habits that are so different from our everyday? When setting a New Years resolution find the baby steps for it. Going to diet? Make a resolution that includes a plan, with a minimum and maximum option per day. An example would be, for 2021 my minimum goal per day is to exercise for at least 5 minutes a day. My maximum goal is to eat better and buy less junk food and exercise for an hour. Seems doable? This is instead of picking a particular weight amount or buying a gym membership you can consistently keep your goal by at least exercising for 5 minutes a day.
2. Make changes - When our lives change, our goals change, but often weight and finances stay the same. Motivation fluctuates by the hour, day and week. So start small with your minimum and let it evolve. If you're loving 5 minutes a day of exercise but want to push it to 10, try it. Do 3 pushups and then gradually work your way up to 10 pushups. Research shows that willpower is like a muscle and you need to build up that strength! Change happens slowly so give your mind and body a chance to grow that muscle.
3. Track your success - You know you have a goal but you decide to skip a day or you don't want to do it on vacation. Then the goal has disappeared between work and making dinner. When you have a minimum and maximum version of your goal you not only can do it anywhere but you can keep it going. Use a planner to check off the days as you go and always complete your minimum goal. Our example of 5 minutes of exercise can happen on vacation, in the kitchen or even on a work break. Marking an accomplishment on the calendar will allow you to track your success. Pretty soon you won’t want to miss a day. Seeing a blank square will not make you feel good but seeing a full month of stars and checkmarks… trust me the dopamine of accomplishment will start to sing.
4. Make a Reward system - This is one of my favorites. Pick what works best for you, weekly rewards or monthly rewards. Find a reward that doesn't counteract your goal. Reward yourself in another way. Maybe see if your significant other will help you with this and give you a massage or maybe ask your best friend to get a manicure with you. Find a way to make it special and be clear to everyone around you why you're celebrating or rewarding yourself. Be proud that you've accomplished your New Years resolution for a week, a month and soon a year. Yes some people will laugh at the beginning but in the end you'll be happy for completing your goal.
5. When does this goal end? Sometimes a goal can seem endless because we aren't getting to that finish line which is why we aren't picking a weight amount but choosing to bring easy healthy experiences into our day to day life. You're making a new years resolution that will change your life and eventually help you accomplish your goal. Option: If you're looking for more of a planned out goal that has a beginning/middle/end try the S'moo45 planner. 45 days that walks you through your goals to be healthier. This short term goal is manageable and walks you through each day. It is a great way to start your year.
6. Design Your Environment - In many ways, your environment drives your behavior. Say it’s 11pm and you’ve just walked into the kitchen to see a plate of cookies on the counter. They are so easy to just grab and munch on! If you design your environment to not have cookies in it or even to just have those cookies in a place where you have to go grab a step stool in order to reach them, you’re having to put a lot more energy into getting them, so you probably won’t mindlessly grab a cookie. This extra time to think about your actions will normally allow you to go for the celery in the fridge instead. Or for example, if you’re trying to read more instead of watch TV. Put a book near the couch and put the remote out of arms reach. You’d be surprised how often we give into habits because we’ve made them so accessible.
7. Surround Yourself With Positive People - They say you’re a combination of the 5 people you’re closest to. At one point a few years ago, I had super negative boss and two friends who were very competitive and complained all the time. My husband started to notice my personality was changing. It was hard to admit it to myself but he was right. The people I was hanging out with were changing me! Studies have shown that the people around us have a surprisingly big impact on our behavior. One study showed that if you have a friend who becomes obese, your risk of obesity increases by 57 percent — even if your friend lives hundreds of miles away! Other research has shown that we tend to feel the same way, and adopt the same goals, as the people we spend the most time with.
We normally realize when we are making bad choices. Those bad choices can turn into bad habits. It’s when we don’t have consequences that we normally continue down that road. It's not easy but don't let one day turn in to two.
Especially this year with Covid it has been easier to binge-watch Netflix all night than deal with the real world. It’s easier to buy a friend a gift card and say we did our best at Christmas shopping this year. It’s easier to eat late into the night instead of fighting your growling tummy that obviously wants Chinese food, cookies and a milkshake. And the list can go on.
BUT good choices can feel SO good. Allow yourself to get hooked on good habits. It's easy to fall into bad habits but with these steps above you can just as easily choose to fall into good habits this New Year.
Here is to you and the New Year. We know you can stay strong and complete your goals to be a stronger, healthier woman in the New Year!