Many people make New Year’s resolutions only to see their commitment and motivation fade by Valentine’s Day.   Successful resolutions are about making a HABIT.   A habit is something we can do without thinking, such as tying our shoes, and has become automatic, like wearing a seatbelt.  The benefit of creating a habit is that the behavior no longer requires us to remember to do it, nor do we need to motivate ourselves to do it.   It is a habit!

Here are some tips to help create a habit and turn your New Year’s resolution into an integral part of your life.

Reflect.  Ask yourself why this resolution is important to you.  Perhaps you want to play with your grandchildren without being out of breathe at the park.   Maybe you want to hike down the Grand Canyon with your family.

Start fresh for real.  Frequently, people will experience resolution failure when the expectation is too grand.  For example, a resolution might be I want to lose 40 pounds before my cousin’s wedding in May.   Rather than set a specific weight loss goal with a time pressure, set a goal that will help you lose weight without the time pressure.  For example, a goal might be, I will wear a pedometer and increase my daily steps till I reach an average of 7000 -10,000 steps per day. The increased consistent activity will contribute to weight loss.

Make a plan and be realistic.  Think #SmartGoal.   A smart goal is small, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and timely.  For example, if you are the grandparent who wants to play with their grandchild with more energy, a smart goal could be, walking 15 minutes three times a week and after two weeks increase to walking 20 minutes three times per week.  The goal would be to increase your walking time by five minutes until you reach 45 minutes .

Identify barriers and obstacles. It is important to eliminate deterrents.   Ask yourself, what would get in the way of meeting your goal?  People often say the problem is a lack of time.  Remember there are only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week.  Examine your priorities and reflect on what is important to you.  Perhaps other commitments need to be ended. Maybe you are over-committed taking care of others and you need to put you first.  

Make a schedule.  Set a clear time when you will practice your new habit.  Set an alarm on your smart phone, write in in your calendar, and ask a friend to remind you. 

Establish rituals.  Make it hard not, to do your new behavior.  For example, lay out your exercise clothes the night before.  Share your success by texting a support person before and after your practice.  In order to increase motivation try setting your computer password to an affirmation such as, “I am worthy” or “I am healthy.” Remember there are only 24 hours/7days/week.  

Reward your success.  Mark your calendar with a “gold star” for each time you do your new behaviors.  When you earn ten stars, reward yourself.  Do a little something to acknowledge your efforts and progress such as getting a manicure or enjoying a night-out with friends to see a movie.

Success is about progress not perfection.  Praise your progress and daily success.  If your goal is to walk three times a week but, one week you only walk twice – do not berate yourself.  Consider it a speedbump. Think about what got in the way and start fresh.  Do not engage in all or nothing thinking.  For example, if your goal is to walk for 60 minutes but on a particular day, you only have time for 30 walk, then walk for 30 minutes.   Praise yourself for walking for 30 minutes and feel good about it versus skipping walking because you couldn’t walk for 60 minutes.  Creating a habit is  the key to making a resolution a successful life-style habit.  Every day…..every moment we make a choice to start fresh.

Ask for help and support. If you continue to struggle with creating a habit seek out professional help or a support group to assist you on your journey. 

Happy New Year from Barnes & Klatt, PC

Comments on this entry are closed.

The information provided in the website is intended to give general introduction to the services offered by Barnes & Klatt, P.C. and is not to be used as a substitute for assessment or treatment by a medical professional.

Links provided to third party websites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement of the accuracy or validity of the content contained in those sites.