January 03, 2018
Every January, millions of people vow to improve their lives with New Year’s resolutions. And every February, 80% of them have already failed.
Here’s the good news: there are a few easy ways to increase your odds of keeping those resolutions, whether you want to improve your fitness, eat better, learn a new skill, or engage with your community.
1. Be very specific and concrete. It’s a lot easier to keep resolutions when they’re measurable. Instead of saying “start working out,” promise to exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times per week, or join a group fitness class at the Y. Instead of saying “go on a diet,” make a healthy eating plan that cuts out sugar, decreases carbs, and increases fruits and vegetables.
2. Be realistic. When setting measurable goals, don’t set the bar too high. Start with something you’re confident you can attain, and then, if and when you keep that resolution, challenge yourself to do a little bit more.
3. Ease into new routines. The most difficult part about changing your daily routine (by exercising or cutting sugar out of your diet, for example) is the first few days and weeks. During that initial adjustment period, your body can get overwhelmed by the sudden changes, making you feel miserable. That’s why most people give up on their resolutions by February! To make that adjustment period easier, and increase your chances of sticking with a resolution, ease your body into major life changes. Instead of exercising every day, try 2-3 times per week at first, then level up when you feel ready. Instead of quitting sugar “cold turkey,” taper off over a period of weeks to avoid miserable withdrawal symptoms.
4. Motivate yourself with positive emotions instead of negative ones. Studies show that channeling “willpower,” “grit,” and “discipline” isn’t very effective when exercising self-control. Writing in the New York Times, psychology professor David DeSteno says positive emotions like gratefulness, pride, and compassion lead to better outcomes for New Year’s resolutions.
Need help setting specific, measurable health and fitness-related resolutions? Schedule a free Y Wellness Consultation today.