Do you set your New Year’s Resolutions full of determination and vigor but then lose steam by February? As we move days and weeks away from January 1st, it can be challenging to stay motivated and on track with your resolutions. And although changing behaviors takes dedication, these three tools can help you stay on target with your resolutions.
1. Work on one specific, realistic resolution at a time
Maybe the issue isn’t your determination or follow-through. Perhaps your initial goals were too ambitious or numerous, thus setting you up to feel overwhelmed or defeated from the get-go. When setting your goals, keep them simple, focused, and attainable. Work on one resolution at a time. If you haven’t exercised or eaten well in the past few years, it doesn’t make sense to set the goal of running a marathon and overhauling you diet all at once. Maybe just set the goal of exercising three times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes. Look over your goals, and re-adjustment them to so they are concrete and manageable. It’s ok to re-evaluate your resolutions as you go along
Staying accountable is probably the most important aspect for following through on your resolutions. Accountability will help you stay focused when your internal motivation starts to wane. There are many ways to build a structure of accountability with your goals, and the more accountability you create the more likely you are to succeed.
One method of accountability includes setting up a system of rewards for yourself when you reach milestones and penalties when you miss goals. For instance, some people make a pact with a friend or co-worker that they have to pay the other person a sizable amount of money–say $20 or $50–each time they skip their planned workout routine. But rewards and penalties don’t have to revolve around money or purchases. Perhaps you have to do an extra chore that another family member does each time you miss the gym, but each week you do three workouts you get to take an extra hour for something you enjoy doing
The best methods of accountability include bringing in a few reliable people to help support your progress. This can be a trust worthy friend with whom you can meet weekly to review goals and progress. If you have a dependable friend, family member, or colleague with some similar resolutions, you can schedule time to work together towards your shared goals (workout and cooking buddies are the best). And depending on your goals, many professionals can help keep you accountable: life coaches, personal trainers, therapists, nutritionists, and (ahem) acupuncturists can all help support your progress.
3. Be kind
Yes, even with specific, attainable goals and accountability, there will be times that you slack off or lose focus. Maybe you catch a cold, so you take some time off from the gym to get well, and then your whole workout momentum is lost. So what? You can beat yourself up, or you can be kind to yourself. Don’t focus on berating yourself; just try again. Changing your routine doesn’t usually happen in one elegant burst of self-discipline. It usually takes many attempts, and missteps are an important part of the process. Congratulate yourself for your efforts, and then move on to your next attempt.
If you are interested in getting support with your health-related goals this year, the team at All and One Acupuncture in NE Portland can help! Call us for a consultation to learn how we can help promote your well being wherever you are in your process.