New Year’s is fast approaching, along with the stress of creating resolutions that may never be kept. Nearly 50% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 15% of those are kept. Scholars believe that resolutions for the New Year began around 4000 BC, when people would pay off debts and return borrowed items. Later, Romans would start the New Year by assessing the past year, and then vow to accomplish more in the upcoming year.
For many, the same new year’s resolutions appear year after year, never getting accomplished. The stress of wanting to make major life changes and not knowing where to start usually keeps people from following through on their promises. The most common resolutions involve losing weight, smoking, money, and stress.
Change Your Mindset
The key to making a resolution stick may not be the actual resolution itself, but the mindset of approaching the change. Resolution is defined as determination, a firmness of mind or purpose. It’s a black and white concept. You either quit smoking or you don’t. But a new way to approach it is to set the intention. Intention is defined as “to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, or an aim or objective”. More gray than black and white, and a blueprint to get there. When we lack intention, we stray without meaning or direction.
Set An Intention
To set an intention, you need to define it, write it down, set it up to happen, eliminate obstacles or find ways around them, identify steps to take, and then release it. Write positive affirmations to yourself to keep focused and motivated.
Set Realistic Goals
An important part of setting your intention is realistic goal setting. Long-range goals can be overwhelming because you feel like you will never reach them. Large goals should be broken into mini-goals so milestones can be celebrated each month. Review each day, and decide how much time you need to dedicate and when to fit it in. Create a detailed plan, including a calendar of when you want to accomplish things by. If you’re not sure how to accomplish it, ask someone with expertise in that area for help.
How To Begin
The first step is to begin where you are, as obvious as it sounds. Many people start dreaming about the future, or angry that they are not already farther along. Appreciate and accept where you are now, and the fact that you are taking steps toward progress. This alone will eliminate some stress from the process.
Use specific terms instead of vague ideas, so you know exactly when something has been accomplished. Saying “I want to lose weight” is vague, but “I will lose 10 lbs by Feb 1st” is specific. Find substitutes or alternatives to behaviors you want to correct. If you eat unhealthy food because you think it tastes better, then look at recipes specifically focused on healthy but great tasting recipes so you have something to replace the bad food with. Start with one or two goals at the most so you don’t get overwhelmed. You will find that once you change habits to meet your goal that many other habits also change anyway.
Visualize Your Goal
Once you have created your goal, the next step is to visualize it. Vision is the ability to see something so clearly in your mind that you can manifest it in physical reality. Thoughts become things, so constantly fill your mind with positive images. A lack of vision is the main reason people don’t follow through on resolutions or anything for that matter.
To harness your vision, you need to follow a few steps. Imagine how the new change will fit into your life. How will you feel? What will your life look like? Give your vision power by writing it down, telling others, making a collage with magazine pictures and words. Visualize yourself with your accomplishment. Imagine life after the goal. You need to be able to see yourself achieving it in order to accomplish it. See it like a movie in your head, and replay the moment you achieve your goal over and over.
Plan For Roadblocks
It’s impossible to know what is going to happen in certain situations, so it’s important to have a plan for roadblocks. Knowing how to deal with things ahead of time, like a table full of your favorite treats or an injury that prevents you from exercising, will keep you on track. Keep in mind that you may not be in charge of all events, but that you are in charge of how you choose to react Staying calm will keep you from making irrational decisions that could sabotage your accomplishments.
Remind yourself that life is ongoing and this is a journey, not just a destination. It’s the experience along the way that will change you more than reaching the finish line.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
To help stay on track, surround yourself with people who are trying to make positive changes too. Nothing is worse than someone who doesn’t care about what you accomplish, or tries to prevent you from reaching your goals. This person could be an acquaintance at work, or working out with you everyday. Give each other positive feedback when you reach milestones, and support when you struggle.
Reward Yourself Along The Way
Most importantly, remember to reward yourself along the way when you reach your goals. It doesn’t have to be big expensive things, and it is probably better if it’s not food. Making major life changes, especially health changes, may cause discomfort or withdrawal symptoms, particularly when detoxing. A new exercise program may cause sore muscles. Treat your body to bodywork like massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture or reiki. Yoga, meditation, and stretching are also beneficial. A day at the spa to pamper yourself is great motivation to get where you need to be, and a great reward once you get there.
Staying positive, creating goals, having a vision, and celebrating milestones will help make 2019 the year that you accomplish your resolutions instead of them being just words on a paper! Remember we are are here to help you reach your health goals for 2019 so contact us!