This season, New Year’s resolutions and new healthy habits are all everyone is talking about. But, only 8% of these changes will form into lasting habits and changing your diet can be particularly hard. The premise of a “New Year’s Resolution” is that it happens after the new year, allowing us to procrastinate a little longer.
This could be a sign that we aren’t ready or committed to making a change stick. Setting unrealistic goals is another risky tendency. When our goal is too big, we can get discouraged or overwhelmed and may eventually give up all together. So how can we avoid these pitfalls and be sure to succeed this new year?
1.) Break it Down: Research and experts suggest making small changes and changing no more than three new goals at a time. First, ask if your new habit and time frame is realistic for you. If you’re even a little hesitant, break it down into smaller steps. Interested in upping your fruit intake? Incorporate one serving at breakfast everyday and then work on the next serving only after you’ve achieved this consistently. Small, successful changes will add up and keep you empowered.
2.) Make a plan: After you’ve determined your goal(s), make a plan and be specific by creating SMART goals. Write down all of your goals and ensure they are.
3.) Foster a Supportive Environment: Foster an environment that’s designed to make your new habit succeed. Are you trying to snack healthier? Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks, like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and whole grains. Limit unhealthy treats, but keep one option around for when you really need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Having healthy options more easily accessible will make achieving your goal easier!
4.) Seek Support: Whether it’s someone to keep you accountable or someone that is looking to make healthy changes with you, seek support from others. Friends, coworkers, family members, and significant others can be great sources of support and accountability. Ask for assistance when you need an extra push, pick me up, or to celebrate your small successes on the way to your big goal!
5.) Shift your focus: It’s not just the new habit that counts, but how you think about it. In order to make a habit last, you have to actually create new neural pathways. When creating a new habit or reaching a specific goal, focus on the process instead of the outcome. Reaching your goals alone won’t deliver long-term results, but the lifestyle changes that go along with them will. Create a ritual or thought process around your new desired habit that makes you feel good and accomplished for both short-term and long-term success