Welcome to the middle of January, where many of our New Year’s resolutions go to die or be tossed to the wayside until next year. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You don’t need another new year to get back on the wagon (again). You just need a new attitude and perhaps a few adjustments to your resolutions. Check out our suggestions for getting back on the resolution wagon and making the year a success.
Write it all down!
Some people love lists, others consider them a waste of perfectly good paper and ink. We’re here to tell you that those list-loving folks are on to something. Multiple studies have proven that you remember more when you write it down. What’s more, you remember the important things when you write it down. Want to make your resolutions happen? Write them down and be specific! Then, hang your list up in a place you’ll see it at the beginning of each day, like the bathroom mirror or the fridge. Each morning you’ll see the list and ask yourself what you have to do that day to reach your goals.
Re-evaluate your goals and adjust accordingly.
Though we’re all different, our new year’s resolutions are usually the same. We all want to eat healthier, work out more, and lose excess weight. We all want this to be the year we shed unhealthy habits like smoking, sitting too much, or eating too many processed foods. But when we set vague or unrealistic goals, we all but guarantee failure to reach them.
Instead of saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds by Valentine’s Day” or “I’m going to start going to the gym more”, change your goal to “I’m going to work out at the gym on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday at 4 pm” or “I’m starting a new healthy eating and work out plan and my first progress check-in date will be Valentine’s Day.” These goals are actionable and attainable because they are specific and don’t come with the pressure of trying to reach a possibly unreachable goal. Having a weight loss goal is great, but it should be set with help from your medical provider and with a focus on practicing healthier habits rather than reaching a certain number on the scale.
Set mini-goals to reach the finish line.
What if your goal isn’t related to weight loss or health? What if you simply want to get more organized or become a better housekeeper this year? You need clear, actionable and attainable goals for that, too. How do you want to become more organized? Does your home need an organization and cleaning overhaul? If your goal is too broad, you probably won’t reach it. Instead, write down a list of things you want to organize as well as a plan to get it done. For instance, designate one weekend for cleaning out and organizing the closets in your home and then choose another organizing task like re-arranging the pantry for the next week.
Take control of your time.
Think you don’t have time to hit the gym more often or tackle organization tasks? Think again. No really, think again. Think about all the times you spend binge-watching Netflix, scrolling Facebook, or getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep when you could be out for a run, meditating, or simply making more time to get organized in the morning before work. Before you watch that next episode of Fuller House, achieve a mini-goal like going for a run or walk in the neighborhood, or finally taking that garbage bag of unwanted clothing to Goodwill or a local clothes closet.
Address the root cause of your bad habit or unwanted behavior.
Putting an end to bad habits and achieving healthy life goals are all but unreachable if you don’t address the cause of your bad habits and unhealthy choices. Are you still smoking because it’s your favorite way to relieve anxiety or stress? Figure out the causes of your stress and address them. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe it’s a toxic relationship. Maybe it’s because you’re afraid to let go of a habit you’ve held onto for so long and find a new, healthier way to manage your problems. Once you’ve addressed the root cause of a poor habit, letting that habit go becomes easier.
Change your environment.
It’s hard to quit smoking with an ashtray and a half-empty pack of cigarettes lying on your table, just like it’s hard to say no to midnight cookie breaks when there’s no shortage of cookies in your pantry. Get rid of it! Toss out the ashtray, lighters, and remaining packs. Stop visiting the cookie and candy aisle when you grocery shop.
Sometimes changing your environment is all you need to completely change your life. Sometimes changing your environment means changing who you spend your time with. Sometimes that change is only temporarily necessary, like staying away from your friends who are smokers until you are no longer tempted by someone else lighting up. Sometimes the change needs to be permanent, and you’ll need support from loved ones to make it stick.
Replace bad behaviors with new ones.
One of the reasons we find it so hard to let go of any habit is its familiarity and consistency. Lighting up a cigarette after a meal is common for most smokers, which is why finding a new post-meal habit like going for a walk is essential to giving up smoking for good.
Part of your plan to reach your goals should include replacement behaviors. Instead of smoking, you’ll go for a short walk after dinner. Instead of sleeping to the last possible minute, you’ll get up 30 minutes before your alarm clock and read, meditate, or do some type of workout. Soon your goal won’t be about getting rid of one habit but getting better at a new one.
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of reaching goals is having support from friends and family. Share your goals with loved ones and ask them to help hold you accountable. If you have a friend with similar health and fitness goals, ask them to be your accountability and workout partner. If you want to quit smoking, ask your non-smoking friends and family to help fill your time so you have less time to think about the habit.
Finally, Don’t Give Up!
So you’ve already fallen off the wagon and we’re just three weeks into the new year. Who cares? You might fall off the wagon three more times before your resolutions start to stick. The only way they’ll never work is if you give up on working them. Don’t give up. Look at each day as a new chance to get it right.
Need help or advice on quitting smoking or reaching your health goals? Your medical provider’s office is the best place to start. Request an appointment with EliteCare today to discuss your new year’s goals and learn how we can help you reach them.