Yep, its that time of year again, when everyone thinks that by some miracle if they make their new resolutions now at the beginning of the new year, they will successfully keep those resolutions. We all know that it’s not the time of year that helps us keep our resolutions. But do we truly know how to keep those new resolutions?
Personally, I’ve had a few years where I didn’t seriously set any new resolutions simply because life seemed hard enough without adding more things to it to work on consistently. I think if people who are going through tough times make their new resolutions only to hang in there and not give up hope that is probably for the best. The last thing an overwhelmed person will need is one more overwhelming thing in their life.
However, psychologists and others who’ve studied this process we do to ourselves every year have found some significant things we can do so we are successfully keeping our new resolutions throughout the whole year.
There is nothing wrong with setting the bar high, and it’s great to think big, dream of being a massive success at something, and keep that on our minds as we pursue our way through life. The problem, however, is there are simpler steps we need to take to get to the big stuff we long to have. If we want to turn our goals into habits, we have to put some serious thought into what things will need to change in our lives.
It could be going to bed earlier so we can get up earlier to have time to exercise. Maybe it’s turning the T.V. off to read more books this year, or writing things down so we can be more organized. We tend to fall back on the hope of having something better in ourselves and our lives, but, we forget that often there are other things that we have to give up to resolve a regular habit!
Make A Goal That Truly Is Important to You
Sometimes we look at other people’s lives and imagine that we want what they have, but it’s better to look at the total picture of your own life. Decide what needs to go and what can stay in your life to get the result you want. In other words, don’t make a goal of keeping a cleaner home when you don’t care if your house is clean. Pick something that’s important to you and fits into your life. Our chances of making it a habit are much better when we do anything meaningful.
So I want to lose weight this year. If I make losing weight my resolution the chances of it happening are a lot less than a plan of how many pounds I want to lose and what I’m going to do every day to lose weight. My one general resolution will now turn into several goals that I would like to turn into a habit that lasts.
Example of a specific goal: I want to lose 15 pounds. To be precise my one goal is going to turn into the three goals below, and as you will see, it requires some planning!
1. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day six days a week. I will start with the elliptical trainer and Yoga.
2. I will stop eating sugary and salty snacks six days a week. Instead, I’ll eat things like apples with peanut butter, yogurt, almonds, fruit and celery with a small amount of dip. Some people like the simplicity of a healthy shake program It beats skipping breakfast or lunch and then overeating at dinnertime!
3. I will plan my meals and snacks before I go to the grocery store, so I have healthy foods at my fingertips when I’m hungry. I may even join a meal delivery service to support my new healthy eating habits, so I’m not overwhelmed with a whole week of meal planning. How many times do we end up eating out or ordering takeout anyway?
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Think of things you can do to support your new resolution
For example, if you want to stop eating unhealthy snacks try not to have them in your house. If you’re going to read more put your book on the table beside the chair you use to watch TV. If you hate exercising try to do something to make it fun for you. While on the treadmill watch Netflix, listen to your favorite music or listen to some interesting podcasts. Before you know it your exercise time will be over!
Try to uncover WHY you continue doing the wrong habits you want to change
If we know why we do something, we can replace what we’ve been doing for the “why” with something else.
Example: You know you smoke because your nervous, tired, or bored. If you are going to quit, talk to your doctor about anxiety issues. Also, you can plan the things you will do when temptation strikes. Maybe it’s to read, get a healthy drink, call somebody, do housework, or take a walk. Figure out what works for you and plan to do it.
I know I don’t exercise because I’d rather do something else. Also, exercising less will make me feel worse. Remembering this thought process will remind me of why I’m creating a better habit of exercise.
Always keep the positive reasons for the new resolution in mind
Whether it’s the fact that you’ll feel better, be happier, live longer, be smarter, weigh less, or be more prosperous, you have to think of why you’re doing this in the first place. The positive reasons definitely can stand alone in fighting the temptation to give up your goal. But sometimes we need a reminder of the adverse reaction that happens if we give up our plans.
Remember the reason why we need to change a particular habit
We certainly don’t want our spouse leaving us because we can’t give up drinking. We know we could die young from tobacco use, or all the diseases that are a result of eating unhealthy foods. A reality check is something we could write down and place somewhere that we’ll see it often. The refrigerator, bedroom closet, kitchen cabinets, car dashboard, or anywhere we will see it to keep it fresh in our minds.
Hopefully, we all make some progress this year in making our lives better, meaningful, and healthier. If for no other reason than the feeling we get when we’re successful, let’s do it!
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