The promise of a new year is wonderful. Every year I say, “next year is going to be better”. Not sure what I mean by that. Life is not easy and there are many challenges. I guess I hold hope at the end of each year that the upcoming year will be struggle-free. But as I grow older, I recognize that this isn’t how life works. There are always going to be struggles. Every year. So now, looking at the glass ½ full rather than ½ empty has been my go-to as December comes to a close. I sit down and write down all of the wonderful things that happened during the current year. It reminds me that there are so many good things in my life.
Of course, healthy habits are always at the top of the New Years resolution list virtually every year. “I will start exercising regularly” and “ I will eat healthier” are on the top of resolution chart, followed by “get organized”. The success rate, in an average year, is 8%.
I can vouch for the healthier lifestyle in the number one spot. As a group fitness instructor, my classes nearly double from early January to mid-March. Once spring break comes around, many of those resolutions drop off and I never see those participants again.
It is so easy to say that you are going to change a habit. And it is a wonderful thing to want to improve in the New Year. But let’s discuss how to actually make this happen so you don’t fall into the 8% I discussed above.
- Choose just one or two resolutions to focus on. Make a list of your resolutions and decide which ones are most crucial to you. Healthy habits are, of course, an extremely important one. But there are many others, as well. In debt? Then learning to manage your money needs to be at the top of your list this year. In poor health because of bad eating habits? Then that should also be at the top of your list. Prioritize which ones are most important to you and decide what must be accomplished this coming year for you to be happy.
- Make a plan. This is the one step many fail to apply to their New Years Resolution; and yet it is the most important of them all. Set up an appointment with a financial specialist. Sign up for the next My1fitlife challenge or for the Quest group. Hire a counselor or life coach to help you follow through with your resolution (I will be offering these services in the very near future for My1fitlife!). Have a plan to help you achieve your resolution(s). Along with this, set goal dates for yourself. For example, “I will schedule an appointment with a financial advisor by 2/1/17”. Then write that into your calendar and set yourself reminders.
- Sign an agreement and find someone to be accountable to. Write up an agreement that has your name, lists your resolution(s) along with end dates. Sign it and find someone you trust and you know will keep you accountable to sign it as well. Ask them to check in with you occasionally to see how you’re doing and make them aware of the deadlines you have established for yourself.
- Reward yourself upon completion. Try not to let food or drink be your reward. Decide prior to signing your agreement what your reward will be. If needed, make small rewards throughout the year for each deadline you’ve placed for yourself. For example, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds by the end of 2017, and you lose 15 pounds by April; buy yourself a new pair of shorts or a new dress that fits for the upcoming summer. Also, be proud!! Let others know of your accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to let others know when And remember that it can take 6, 8, 10, or even 12 months for you to reach some goals.
- Remember that this isn’t going to change your entire life. This is, perhaps, the most important feature of this article!! For example, I often have clients who are upset because even though they lost all the weight they wanted to lose, their relationship with their spouse didn’t improve. Or their life isn’t picture perfect like they thought it would be. Losing weight is not going to improve all other areas of your life. If you are willing to accept this before you start on your quest to a resolution, you will be much more content with your success and more likely to maintain your change than if you have unreasonable expectations.
You will have set-backs. Forgive yourself and move forward. No step is ever too small. They are all an important piece in order to move forward. There will be other areas of your life you may want to work on; but work on those after you have successfully completed your top resolutions. If something doesn’t work on your quest, then decide what else you can do in place of that.
I’m wishing you all of a very happy and healthy 2017!