How many people have asked you what your New Year’s resolutions are this year? Probably a lot. What answer did you give? To stop smoking, lose weight, stop skipping breakfast, cut down on drinking, chocolate, fast food, caffeine, sugar, or to eat more vegetables or exercise more?
If you’ve made any of these resolutions in the past but weren’t successful, there are some strategies you can try to increase your chances of success this time around.
Maybe you don’t like the word “resolution”, which is fine. Don’t call it a resolution. Think of it as a positive new habit you want to adopt to improve your health.
Write down what you want to achieve. This could be in a journal, on a sticky note that you can put on your mirror or fridge or wherever you will see it, or in a handy app on your smartphone or computer such as Evernote. Make sure you read your goal multiple times a day, and make it a specific, achievable goal with a deadline.
Rather than writing down “I want to lose weight”, you could write “I will lose 10 pounds in two months (insert date).”
Also, journaling about why you want to achieve your goals and about why you might not have achieved them in the past if you tried can help you get clarity and get unstuck.
Spread the Word
Once you have your goal or goals written down, tell supportive people about them. This will help keep you accountable, and if you can get a friend or significant other on board, all the better. You will have a buddy for support and motivation.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing when you’re starting out. For example, if you drink several cups of coffee every day and want to stop, but the thought of going cold turkey scares you, don’t plan to go cold turkey. Start cutting down slowly, replacing one cup of coffee a day with decaf coffee, dandelion root tea, or green tea. Slowly increase the amount of cups of coffee you replace until you’ve replaced all of them. Be easier on yourself and make it manageable so you’re more likely to stick with it.
You Have to Want It
Whatever goals you set for yourself, make sure you really want them. If others think you should stop a bad habit or start a better one, but you’re not ready, you most likely won’t see it through. Making resolutions because you think you should without any real desire to do it is a recipe for failure.
That doesn’t mean you should never plan to improve your health, but you have to be in the right frame of mind. Thinking about and writing down the benefits of achieving your health goals versus the outcomes of not trying to achieve them could help you get there.
Affirmations Can Help
Positive affirmations can improve your outlook and behaviour. They can also counteract the negative thoughts that go through your mind.
Louise L. Hay’s wonderful book, You Can Heal Your Life, has a handy section at the back that lists physical problems, their possible cause, and a new thought pattern to repeat.
For example, for overweight, Hay says the probable cause is “Fear, need for protection. Running away from feelings. Insecurity, self-rejection. Seeking fulfillment.” The new thought pattern to repeat is “I am at peace with my own feelings. I am safe where I am. I create my own security. I love and approve of myself.”
Give yourself the best chance of achieving your health goals in 2015. Try out these suggestions, and let me know what other helpful strategies you use to achieve your goals in the comments.