New Year, Same You … Only Better!

With the New Year here, you’ve probably heard the phrase “New Year, New Me!” several times. Most people desire to make monumental changes in their lives this time of year, such as paying off debt, eating healthier, traveling more or losing weight. 

No matter if we believe in New Year resolutions or not, this is certainly a great time to reflect on our goals and consider ways to improve ourselves.

While there is nothing wrong with setting goals for improvement, our thoughts regarding the phrase “New Year, New Me!” doesn’t do justice to the progress we’ve already made in our lives.

It’s not possible to become a new person in one day. Your life story moves with you into the New Year. One reason resolutions often fail is because people set really large and overwhelming goals for themselves. 

This year, consider changing your thoughts regarding goal-setting and change your resolutions from overwhelming and unattainable to realistic and achievable.

Improve Upon What You’ve Already Started

To reach your goals for the New Year, you must develop a habit and practice the new behavior. So, it makes sense that improving upon your existing behaviors and habits may be a more effective way of achieving the results you wish to have. 

Reflect upon what you think needs to be changed and what is currently working well for you.

Research has shown that if you want to create, and continue practicing a new habit, then it is necessary to do the following:

Choose a small action or behavior. “Work out,” “Lose weight” and “Eat healthy” are not small actions. Instead, replace these goals with “I will park my car farther from the entrance so I have to walk more before work;” “Instead of using the elevator, I will take the stairs to my office each day;” or “I will bring, or buy, a healthy lunch instead of eating fast food.”

Connect the new action with a prior habit. If you already walk for 30 minutes two times a week, add 15 more minutes of time to your walk. If you already cook a meal at home three nights a week and your goal is to increase your fresh vegetable intake, then resolve to replace the mac ‘n cheese with a dish of vegetables on the nights you cook.

Make the new action simple and easy for you to achieve. It takes time to create new habits, and you will need to practice attaching the action to the existing behavior at least three to four weeks before it becomes a conditioned response. 

Creating Manageable Resolutions

Create a plan. When it comes to resolutions, or any goal you would like to achieve, if you don’t prepare and create an action plan in advance then you will become overwhelmed, tired and you may even skip it all together. To stay on track when applying new routines, think about the specific actions you can do to make your goals a reality. If you want to cut out fast food from your life, then block out time on the weekends to shop for healthy foods, plan your menu and complete your meal preparations for the upcoming week.

Be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in one day. Making small and manageable lifestyle changes can go a long way. Think about it this way: If you weigh 200 pounds and your goal is to lose 50 pounds, then it’s not realistic to think you’ll be in a size six by March. Those extra pounds did not become a part of your body overnight – it took a long time for you to gain that extra weight. So, it makes sense that it will take you several months or more to shed the extra weight in a healthy way. 

Don’t take on too much. We know. You’re inspired, ambitious and you’re going to conquer the world! While it’s great to have lofty goals when it comes to your health and other areas in your life that you would like to improve, you shouldn’t take on too many changes in the beginning. Remember, it’s not about the number of resolutions you have, it’s about you creating an even better version of yourself. Think about the frequency that will be required to achieve your goals. If the goal is something you do monthly, then it’s realistic to try up to three resolutions. If the goal is something you must stick to every day, then choose only one major lifestyle change. For example, if you want to volunteer at the soup kitchen and women’s shelter once a month, and you vow to go on a two-mile hike once a month, then you can achieve these three goals together quite easily. However, if you vow to stop drinking alcohol, stop smoking and cut out all sugar in your diet every day, then you will most likely fail.

Unless you have the willpower of a monk, it’s not a good
idea to make more than one major, daily resolution.

To reach your goals, you must be willing to put in the work to achieve them. If you aren’t motivated to make a change, then your resolutions won’t stick throughout the year. If you feel you aren’t ready, are having doubts or feel reluctant, then you may not be ready to tackle a particular lifestyle change, and that’s OK. Do what you can and try not to beat yourself up if you fail. Just pick yourself up and try again. And try not to forget that you’re a beautiful and magnificent work in progress. WGW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.