As we prepare to flip the calendar, are you making some resolutions for a new year?
Maybe you’re beating yourself up a bit for dropping last year’s resolutions faster than the ball fell in Times Square. But certainly you made progress in some areas, didn’t you? Are you ready to go even further in the new year?
Then ditch the resolutions altogether.
Create a lifestyle.
Do you want to exercise more, lose weight, drink less alcohol, drink more water, cut out the sugar, reduce your toxin exposure, spend more time on personal development, or start a regular meditation and prayer practice?
Which one(s) of those might fit you and what you need most? What’s your plan?
Why not a resolution?
You could be like 45% of Americans and make a resolution; for example, This year, I will stop eating sugar. But only 8% of those resolution-setters actually achieve their goal, according to Statistic Brain.
So, better yet, instead of a wide-ranging resolution, you could set a specific and measurable goal: Instead of giving in to sweets throughout the day and eating dessert after every dinner, I will stop eating sweets after dinner.
Or best yet, you could pair your goal with decisions that will lead you to a new lifestyle: I will stop eating sweets after dinner, will clean my pantry of the leftover holiday goodies by tossing them in the trash tonight (yes, you can), and only buy my very favorite dessert item each week at the grocery store, so I can look forward to having it on the weekends.
Decisions, based on your goals, lead to creating a healthy lifestyle.
Too often, those of us who set New Year’s resolutions give up on them within a few weeks because they’re too vague, too big, too unattainable. We don’t convert our words of resolve on the page to a plan of action, an intention.
Our resolution to walk three mornings a week gets tossed by the wayside when we encounter two rainy, cold mornings, and pull the covers back over our head. Our resolution to avoid sugar flops when a friend brings over a pie and we binge-eat our way through it at 10 p.m. two nights in a row.
We’ve messed it up already, we reason. Why bother?
Because you are worth it. In contrast to resolutions that cause us to beat ourselves up when we fail, decisions that lead to a lifestyle change have a different approach. We realize that a single misstep, or even two, doesn’t signal a dead-end.
But when it’s a lifestyle, the second cold, rainy day leads us to figure out a different way to move our bodies other than getting soaked in the rain. When it’s a lifestyle, after the second piece of pie, we search for ways to redirect our attention to something else, perhaps sour or tart foods.
A resolution leads most of us to failure. A lifestyle offers us grace.A resolution leads most of us to failure. A lifestyle offers us grace.Click To Tweet
So a year from now, how DO you want your life to be different? Write that down.
Here are 5 tips for getting there:
- Create your vision for what you want in the next year. You can jot it down on a piece of paper, but some people like to create their own Vision Board that they can post prominently in their work space or bathroom.
- What goals would help you fulfill some of that vision? Keep it simple. List three areas that need attention, and list specific, measurable steps you can take in the next 90 days for each area. For example, if your goal is to lose 40 pounds in the new year, set a 90-day goal to lose 10 pounds. Then list the steps you’ll take to get to those first 10 pounds. Breaking it down into smaller pieces helps you stay focused.
- Consider what you must give up in order to make this lifestyle change. Is it worth it? If you’re going to start walking three days a week for better health, when are you going to do it? Are you going to have to get up an hour earlier, eat lunch at your desk instead of taking an hour to go out with others, or give up watching “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” after dinner in order to make time for your walk?
- Invite someone to be an accountability partner for you. Tell a friend or supportive relative about your intention, or post it on social media if you desire. Here are some additional ideas on building an accountability network.
- Take 5 minutes right now to make progress on one of your goals. If you’re going to start walking three days a week, and you’re going to begin tomorrow, take 5 minutes to gather your shoes and clothing where you’ll be able to dress easily in the morning.
Most of all, keep working toward your goals and making individual decisions to move you forward. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up. The sooner you get back on track, the less likely you will be to lose motivation. Repeated decisions and actions will become habits, which lead to met goals, and a healthier lifestyle.
If you’d like some additional accountability, contact me about a get-fit program that starts in January. It includes an private Facebook group for accountability and encouragement.
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