Okay. It’s a New Year. New Year, new us. Yeah! Let’s get it! Okay, I feel I have sufficiently hyped you up. Now let’s get into the brass tacks of how to set and also how to keep New Years Resolutions. Or resolutions in general. I dunno. Set resolutions in May if you want. I’m not the boss of you. Now let’s get into it!
- Make the goal doable and also tangible.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Make your goal something reachable. And also make it something concrete and definite. This is where we get into the weeds of the differences between goals and objectives. Goals are broad, where objectives are the achievable steps to reach that goal. A goal could be to eat healthier; the objective to accomplish that could be to eat a plate of broccoli a day. If you want to exercise more, make the objective power walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day or walking around the block for half an hour a day. Also, start small…
Start small, but also increase as you go along. Increase the length or intensity of your exercises a little as you go along. Don’t pile on too much too fast or it won’t stick. Obviously. You totally get it. Moving on!
- Take advantage of quieter times for maintenance
So, in theory you’ll be jumping on these resolutions in January, or maybe May. I don’t know. In all seriousness there are no rules saying you can’t and it’s never too late to start resolutions, even in summer. ANYWAY! You’re getting on the resolution bus and it’s the start of the year. The gyms are gonna be packed this time of year since everybody has that idea which might annoy you, but also this is a quiet time of year. The holidays are over and the first few months of the year tend to be quiet. Many of us are left to our own devices during this time. This is great because it can also be the best time to settle into routines. Make your normal life a healthy maintenance routine for your mind and body and it will always leave you a strong foundation to go back to when the parties and craziness dry up.
- Pair new behaviors with older ones
I think we’ve mentioned the Premack Principle before in other blog entries, but if you’re new to the idea, basically it boils down to: learning new behaviors is easier if you make doing an existing behavior contingent on doing the new behavior first. That may look wordy, but it’s pretty simple. If an existing behavior for you is eating a twinkie and you want to exercise more; make it that you can only eat a twinkie if you’ve been on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Yep. That’s it. It might also mean you eat fewer twinkies because they now require so much effort, but that’s also not terrible if your resolutions are about healthier living.
- Know ways to diffuse discomfort
It’s very popular to set resolutions based on health and fitness, but those aren’t the only game in town. You may want to work on being kinder, or not lashing out in anger, or limiting your time on social media. All worthy goals, with their own challenges. When dealing with that you may need to find ways to diffuse the triggering feelings or thoughts that motivate the behavior. Maybe you count to ten. Maybe you have a mantra you fall back on. Maybe whenever you get tempted by a donut you spin around in a circle and do a lap around the room to help stall until you find your willpower. Whatever it is, sometimes it helps to have interventions in your back pocket to help keep you on track from engaging in unhealthy behaviors. It might also help to sit back with a Cinnamon Rolls Leaner Creamer infused coffee rather than eat an actual cinnamon roll. Just sayin’.