Author: Emily Melby, RDN
New Year’s is quickly approaching: a time to evaluate the previous year’s successes and to look toward new adventures to come. For some, a New Year’s resolution is highly anticipated and motivating, but for others a New Year’s resolution can be a dreaded reminder of past disappointment. Following the below suggestions can help your New Year’s intentions stick.
First, be realistic with your New Year’s resolutions.
Take baby steps and start small. If you would like to increase physical activity, but each time you start an exercise routine you fail in the first week or two, tone it down and start simple. Increase activity gradually with a little activity each day. Walking up and down the staircase for ten minutes or doing 10 sit-ups counts toward your daily physical activity; just remember to increase the intensity of your physical activity over time to achieve lasting results.
Assess where you are in the present moment.
Step back and take a look at yourself to gauge what you can achieve in the short term. Adding an extra serving of vegetables each day may be more manageable that committing to preparing a new recipe each day. Start small and work your way up. Your goals and intentions can change over time—so be flexible and make sure goals are working in the present moment. If they are not, adapt them so they will.
Say your intention out loud or write your goals down.
Speaking a thought out loud and writing down your intentions helps create concrete, mental images of your resolutions. Something that was once only an idea is now a tangible and genuine aspiration. Say your daily goal out loud before bed or in the morning before you go about your day. Or use a journal or notebook to write down your daily intent. If journaling does not sound appealing, try writing your goals on small pieces of paper and post them throughout your house, on the bathroom mirror or in your car as constant reminders.
Have a large goal? Create a list of the small goals you need to achieve before reaching your large goal, then one by one work toward them.
If you stumble, start again.
A New Year’s resolution does not need to go down the drain at the first sign of a blunder. Try and try again! Nobody is perfect. Having the will and ambition to strive for your goals will result is true success. Do not let a poor attitude stop you from achieving these meaningful intentions.
Self-care is critical.
Work, family, and life expectations can make balancing your desires and achieving resolutions hard, especially when you always put everyone’s needs ahead of your own. If you don’t take time to care for yourself, you can’t take care of your life responsibilities. If you feel overwhelmed, try this simple exercise:
- Sit back and take a deep breath.
- Inhale through your nose, fill your stomach with air, and slowly exhale through your mouth.
- Repeat as often as needed to keep calm and relaxed.
You can practice deep breathing any time – while driving, working at your desk, or while running errands. Finding time for yourself and gaining balance can help you achieve your resolutions.
So whatever your New Year’s intentions – losing weight, being more active, eating healthy, or taking time for yourself, consider these tips for a promising start.