Do you struggle to keep your New Year’s resolutions? More than likely, the excitement of a new year wanes and you find yourself back in your old routines.
With proper motivation and the will to change, you can be the exception to this trend. The trick is to turn your optimism for the New Year into concrete actions. Once you start a routine, it becomes easier to follow through.
Are you making multiple resolutions? Or working toward one bigger goal? Either way, be sure to pick things that are achievable within the year’s time-frame.
Set Achievable and Clear Goals
Make your goals achievable, so you don’t set yourself up for failure. For example, let’s say your goal is to lose weight. Determine where you stand currently, and then give yourself a goal that can be achieved following the 1-2 pounds per week guideline. It’s really difficult for many women to lose weight that fast. So, adjust your goals as needed.
You’ll also benefit from making clear goals. Rather than saying that you want to be thinner, say how many pounds you want to weigh. Imagine yourself at that weight. What does it feel like? How active are you are that weight? How much do you love people commenting on your slimmer you?
Then, define the “how”. Are you going to follow a specific diet? Cut calories? How will you cut claories? Are you going to eat mostly a plant-based diet? Eat fruit instead of desert? Are you going to start a moderate exercise routine? What kinds of exercise and how often? Will you exercise alone or with a friend or group? Will you learn a new discipline such as dance, Tai Chi, or Yoga?
Personally, I image myself in perfect, energetic health. I see myself eating mostly plant-based food and loving it. I imagine smiling while dancing, doing Tai Chi and Yoga. I imagine seeing my desired weight on my scale. I imagine how much I love wearing a smaller size, how much room I have in my sleeves, how my current clothes bag and hang on my body. I take deep breaths and remember how comfortable and energetic I feel in my healthy body. I might yell out a “woohoo” while enjoying my healthy body daydream. Health encompasses everything, including weight. The key is to feel perfect in the present (in your imagination)!
With a clear, achievable goal, and a plan of tasks you know you can complete, you are virtually guarantee success! You know exactly what you want and how you’re going to get there. All you need to do now is act.
Acting is usually where people run into trouble. It’s easy to get pumped up about an idea. However, when it comes to executing your plan, you might be tempted to fall short with inadequate action or procrastination.
I set my goals lower than I probably will hit. For instance, my plan is to exercise twice each week. I nearly always do two Tai Chi classes and more than two Yoga classes each week, so I’m usually ahead of my goals. That way, if something happens and I’m unable to do classes, I still meet my goal.
Another thing I do is a plant-based diet. That way I can eat as much as I want. My health improves and my weight and blood sugar stabilize. I cook up three different kinds of vegetable soups in big pots. Then I freeze them for use as needed. I keep fresh fruit handy and out where I see it. If losing weight is a goal, remember that beans and greens are your best friends. I keep that in mind when cooking soups.
You only need to muster up the energy to start your new routine. Tell yourself that you’re going to stick to your new plan for one week and then evaluate how it went. If you take everything in all at once, you may be less likely to begin in the first place. If it looks overwhelming, just focus on the short term.
Form a Routine
You want to take baby steps at first. Once you form a new routine, it’s actually easy to hold yourself to it. Some say that it takes as little as two weeks to get a new routine engrained in your brain.
In the weight loss scenario, starting an exercise routine can be especially grueling if you’re out of shape. The first couple of days can leave you tired, sore, and weak. That doesn’t sound like fun at all! Consider backing off to more moderate exercise. Those first few days are probably the worst you’ll endure. After your routine is established, you may find that you look forward to your exercise sessions. You will probably enjoy more physical challenge after a short time.
At the beginning of COVID-19, Silver Sneakers, my insurance-paid gym membership, went to on-line live classes. I spent 6 months doing Tai Chi and Yoga while sitting in a chair. I still remember the first time I was able to complete the entire classes while standing with the instructors. Woohoo! I still look forward to doing Tai Chi, Yoga and the occasional dance class. I love seeing my much better-defined muscles! I also love how my clothes fit and the extra energy I have.
Reward yourself often for your excellent efforts. It can be hard work to change your habits. You don’t need to wait until the end of the year to treat yourself.
Break up your goals into smaller pieces and every time you achieve a milestone, give yourself something that you enjoy. It could be an item you’ve been wanting, maybe a night out on the town, or some time reading or meditating.
Rewarding yourself for a job well done motivates you to keep going!
Do It Again!
After your first successful year of change, through New Year’s resolutions, you can then repeat the process and work on another aspect of your life. Remember, the simple fact that you exist guarantees you deserve the best that life offers. You ARE enough, exactly as you are!