Experts agree that despite those persistent, not-so-healthy habits, there are ways to break negative patterns and keep healthy resolutions throughout the New Year. The key is to keep everything in perspective and to prepare psychologically for the journey.
When deciding on New Year's resolutions, it’s easy to get swept up in hopeful yearning. As the clock ticks away in the final minutes of the old year, the excitement builds and we become certain that our New Year’s goals will be tackled effortlessly! But alas, after the initial rush of New Year's celebration fades and reality sets in, ambitions can once again seem insurmountable.
The first step is to focus on setting realistic goals with measurable results. Break things down into small steps that are manageable.
Instead of deciding to run a marathon, begin with a goal of running a 5K race, and build from there. Create bite-sized jobs for yourself that you'll be able to accomplish. If your goal is too big, it’s easy to become defeated before you even begin.
Experts also agree that the key to achieving even your most lofty goals is to get started immediately. Action precedes motivation, not the other way around.
Quite often, we think to wait until motivation hits us before doing something good for ourselves. Instead of waiting for inspiration to act on goals, take action first and inspiration will follow.
Initial action doesn't have to be anything big; just by putting on your sneakers and hopping on the treadmill for 10 minutes, that energy you’ve been waiting for will materialize.
Here are tips to help you reach your goals:
Avoid perfectionist thinking. While improving ourselves is admirable, it is healthier to think in positive terms than to focus on falling short of our aspirations. For example, students should view an A- grade as better than a B, rather than worse than an A.
View setbacks as lessons for growth.Mistakes can be, and usually are, opportunities for learning. If you fall short of your goals, ask yourself what kept you from achieving them and then try to make corrections.
Don't keep your resolutions to yourself. Tell someone you trust about your resolutions. It helps to share your goals with friends and family, who can gently nudge you in the right direction when you veer off course, or keep you motivated.
Give goals meaning. Your goal should be something that you really wish to change or achieve, not something that society says is good for you or your family members want. If you don't have strong, internal motivation, you won't be successful.
Take baby steps. Set realistic, attainable goals and then take small steps that are likely to move you toward those goals. Little actions can add up to big results!
Seek expert assistance. Don't try to quit smoking cold turkey with no help or planning. Instead, join a smoking cessation group or discuss medication or nicotine replacement therapy options with your doctor.
Incorporate spirituality. Remember that it’s important to add a spiritual dimension to your goals. If one of your goals is to become fit, you may also resolve to get outdoors more often vs. going to the gym. Time outside will help you get in balance with nature, and will honor both the physical and spiritual sides of yourself.
For more information, please contact the Office of Health and Wellness Education at email@example.com.