Achieving Your New Year Resolutions
It’s that time again. A new year is here, and for many people, it’s time for another resolution.
The new year is often seen as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, start fresh or just begin making the changes we know we need to make. No matter what the goal is, many of us are able to get started, but often struggle with consistency. And by the time March rolls around, those resolutions are a distant memory. How can such a strong desire to change end so quickly? Is there a way to make it less likely that you will give up on your resolutions so easily? To make 2012 different, try incorporating the following recommendations as you commit to making healthy changes.
Make a Smart Resolution
The reason why so many of us fall short of resolution goals is not due to a lack of desire. In many cases, we focus more on the outcome rather than spending our time changing unhealthy behaviors. This new year, work toward your resolution and set your goal in a SMART way by making it:
Specific: Setting specific goals helps to narrow the task. Instead of saying, “I am going to lose weight this year,” say “I’m going to lose 15 pounds in the next four months by changing my diet and exercising more.”
Measurable: Setting measurable goals makes it easier to see how well you’ve done and what you still need to do. Rather than saying, “I’ll try to ride my bike a few times a week,” say “I will ride my bike for 30 minutes, three days a week.”
Attainable: Since high expectations can lead to big disappointments, be realistic and reasonable in your goal setting. Break your goals into smaller steps that you can build on. Instead of setting a goal of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, start with a goal of two servings each day and then add an additional serving every two weeks.
Rewarding: Rewards can be great because they give you something to look forward to. Set small rewards for reaching short-term goals, such as a new DVD or CD after walking for a month. Choose bigger rewards for reaching long-term goals, such as a trip to the beach for quitting smoking.
Timely: Setting a specific date to achieve your goal gives yourself a deadline to work toward. However, the date should not be so far out that you don’t feel the urgency to get started. Weekly, monthly and three-month goals are perfect as your move toward your ultimate destination.
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