A Simple Process for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

New Year, New.. NO STOP!

Ok, wait what? Stop? Whatever do you mean? Why can’t I say that catchy New Years phrase everyone says and posts about ad nauseam? New Year, New You isn’t a bad idea in and of itself. It’s everything that goes along with it, namely expectations, that make it an issue.

There is a reason that so many people quit their New Years Resolutions by February and only 8% succeed (according to Forbes). It all comes down to overload and unrealistic expectations. Most people try to do a 180 with their life this time of year that it is nearly impossible to succeed at and clearly the numbers prove it. What is one to do? How do we overcome this huge obstacle and succeed with our health and fitness goals in the New Year? Well, I have a few things you should keep in mind for 2016 in order to succeed!

To start, do not plan on doing everything at once. It’s unrealistic to try and change every habit or routine in your life. I suggest, first and foremost, planning (seems to be a theme of mine). Find a time when it’s quiet and you have time to sit and actually think. Write down all of your fitness and health goals and also all the changes you need to make in order to accomplish them. Then, number the goals in order of ease to accomplishing them 1-5 – 1 being easiest, 5 being hardest. For example, drink more water for you might be a 1 (there are 6 hacks for doing just that here), while skipping dessert with the family is perhaps a 5 in your book. Finally, write down all the reasons you want to make these changes in your life (don’t skip this step – it’s so important). Keep your list handy and read it often, especially when you are struggling with the adjustments.

Now what? Just writing down those goals isn’t going to be enough! You’re going to use this list to gradually implement these shifts over time. Start with your list of number 1’s and pick one to implement first. Once you have implemented that, then move on to the next item on your list and so on until you have gone thru your entire list. Over time, you should be able to accomplish every item on your list to achieve your goals. Make sure you set realistic expectations and time frames for accomplishing each task but don’t beat yourself up if it takes a little longer than you wanted.

People can be so hard on themselves. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would a friend. You wouldn’t verbally bash a friend for having a slip up or bad day, so don’t do it to yourself either! Be kind to yourself throughout the whole process and refer back to your “reasons for changing” list for motivation. All of your hard work cannot be undone in 1 day. I see too many people make one bad choice and then use it as an excuse to derail everything they have done and quit. Don’t do it! If you have a bad day, didn’t make the greatest meal choice, or miss a workout, so be it. It was one moment – pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back up on that metaphorical horse we’re riding! I know this can be difficult at times and comfort is well, comforting, but remember why you are making these changes. Also, be sure to give yourself some rewards along the way such as buying a new workout outfit (we’re obsessed with this celeb’s line of fashionable activewear), purchasing a new app to help you meal plan, or going on a weekend yoga retreat. Treating yourself once in awhile through this journey will definitely help motivate you to keep going!

What makes this different from other approaches? Control, you get to drive! If you control the pace and you are making small changes over time, you will have a greater chance of succeeding! You will maintain these habits and behaviors long into the New Year and beyond. After a certain amount of time, your gradual behavior modifications start to become a part of your lifestyle and daily routines. Once you start this process, it gets easier as time goes on. Before you know it, everything on that list will be incorporated into your new lifestyle you’ll be knocking out your goals left and right. Now you will have to start a whole new list of goals to achieve and you’ll know just how to accomplish them!