Happy 2015! We’re officially two weeks into the new year and you know what that means? The gyms start to look back to normal. Yes, only two weeks in and many will give up on their New Year’s resolutions. You may have seen my tweet last week about the stats for only one week in…
— Whole Health Dork (@WholeHealthDork) January 8, 2015
So if you’re struggling with your resolutions for the new year, here are some easy ways to help you stay on track:
- Make it easier to say no.
Trying to give up cigarettes, eat fewer sweets, or drink less? Get yourself out of situations where you’re likely to cave, at least for the short-term.
Ice cream is my kryptonite so I exercise the majority of my willpower at the grocery store by rarely buying it. That way it isn’t calling to me from the freezer after dinner. What if WHH wants ice cream? We get a flavor I don’t like. When we do get ice cream, I like to get the higher quality kind and those usually come in smaller containers which mean it doesn’t last as long! Or try going for a healthier substitute and having a small dish of plain yogurt with peanut butter mixed in or puréed frozen bananas.
I’ve also been known to “ruin” ice cream so I won’t be tempted to eat it. What about the guilt of wasting food? I’m not wasting it because it goes down the pipes one way or another: either your body processes it or it doesn’t, but it all ends up in the same place. I feel much worse about throwing rotten fruits or veggies I didn’t get to into our compost.
Homemade ice cream, ruined on purpose
- Be specific.
You vow to “get healthier.” What does that mean to you? Losing weight, eating better, reducing your stress? Pick a very specific goal, such as, “I will work out at least 3 times a week,” instead. It’s easier to stick to something more specific.
- Don’t make too many resolutions
This was a problem I had with my goals for last year. Though I ended up being able to stick to most of them, I found doing my monthly posts overwhelming. That’s because making too many changes at once is overwhelming, which means we’re more likely to give up on all of them. I made a lot fewer resolutions this year.
Try focusing on making one goal this year or, if you really want to make more changes, limit it to one goal in each area of your life (such as home, work, health). You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to achieve your goal when you’re able to focus on just one. Not only that, but being able to achieve one goal will lead to other good changes in your life. If you accomplish your first goal, you may end up accomplishing more than you anticipated!
- Find a way to measure your progress
If you’re trying to lose weight, track your weight, your measurements, or your clothing size. If you’re trying to sleep more, track how much you sleep every night and what kept you for sleeping as much as you wanted. Seeing a visual of your progress is highly motivating and can help you make changes as you come across setbacks. There are lots of tools out there to help you measure your progress, from a good ‘ole paper and pen to inexpensive apps to more expensive gadgets.
We all know the saying, “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This couldn’t be more true than with achieving goals. How will you incorporate your resolution into your life? How will you keep it going when the going gets tough? If your goal is to drink more water, for example, maybe you plan to bring a water bottle to work, keep a water bottle in your car, have a special cup for you at home, and add one to your gym bag. That way, you have no excuse not to drink water!
A simple tool I use to plan my workouts (and also as a kind of measurement of my progress) is a spreadsheet! You may remember me talking about this in my post on keeping an exercise log. I still use this approach nearly a year later because it works so well for me. I’m a spreadsheet dork, but you could use it for a variety of goals! The possibilities are endless (and free if you use Google docs!).
(Conditional formatting for anything over 30 minutes-more on that in another post!)
Questions: Are you struggling with your New Year’s resolutions or goals? What have you done to stay or bring yourself back on track? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?