As the holiday parties wind down, and the last of the Christmas cookies slowly dwindle away, you may begin to take a fresh look at the year ahead. As we look into the new year with all the vision and hope for a new beginning, you may be faced with the age old question: how to bridge my desire with reality?
For many people, the new year brings a resolution for cleansing out, getting healthy, and making positive changes, propelling one towards a year better than the last. The most difficult part, however, is the HOW do I make it happen? Join the gym? Eat more salads? Go for more walks? Despite our darnedest efforts, old habits creep back in, and the “gym/salad/walk” combo turns back into “couch/fast food/TV”. And so we throw in the towel and look towards the next new year…11 months from now.
But what if there were a way to actually stick with your resolutions and achieve the goals you set out to accomplish?
This is where we learn to bridge the gap between desire and lasting action.
How to make your resolutions a lasting reality
1) Set up Accountability
Resolving to make a change is the first step. However, behavior change is almost impossible without support system in place. This is where a friend, spouse, personal trainer or dietitian can make all the difference. You need someone to help give you guidance, keep you motivated, and set up a plan for you. Accountability can help you actually put action to your goals.
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2) Make health a priority, not just a nice idea
You make time for what’s important to you. However, between work, kids, family, friends, healthy habits can often fall by the wayside. Moving your healthy lifestyle change from “a nice idea for someday” to a priority today will make all the difference and prevent chronic health issues from ever developing.
This requires putting a plan in place and working it into your busy schedule. If you start to believe in healthy lifestyle change, then you’ll find time to make it a reality.
3) Define your Action Goals
Many people have a desire to feel better, eat well, and workout more. However, if your goal is to just “lose weight” or “eat better”, what does that actually mean? Failing to define your goals leaves room for falling short. Instead of making ambiguous, lofty goals, try making them more defined.
For example, “I am going to eat a healthy breakfast of oatmeal every morning instead of skipping breakfast or eating a fast-food item” is a defined action goal that gives you a plan, versus “I want to eat a breakfast”, which leaves out how you will make it happen. Making a plan for each goal allows your goal to become a reality.
4) Focus on a Lifestyle, Not Just a Goal
When you mentally transition from “I want____” to making health an integrated part of your life, then you will be successful.
- Change what foods you bring into the house, not just for you but the whole family
- Get in the habit of cooking meals, even if that means designating a “cooking day”
- Schedule your workout times and make them a part of your routine.
- Find healthier alternatives for the foods you enjoy vs. having “good” and “bad” foods. This let’s you enjoy healthy foods all the time versus craving “cheat” foods.
- Focus on how you feel, not just numbers on the scale
These tips are only the beginning, but if you can start believing in and practicing the healthy living process, than slowly but surely it’ll become your new, easy reality.