Guilt, fear of failure, feelings of sabotage, we know the drill of how New Year’s Resolutions sometimes go. You feel guilty because you drank that soda when you said you were quitting sugar. But come on, everyone deserves some grace.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, exercise more, be compliant with a daily vitamin routine or eat healthier, remember, we’re all only human. New Year’s Resolutions should not be followed with self-criticism every turn. But experts say the problem is that most of us set goals that are too broad and therefore, difficult to maintain.
We give you permission to press the reset button (and it’s okay to keep pressing it). Here are some tips, to help you stay healthy in 2018, and happier about your success along the way.
1. Get in touch with your motivation. Know your "why"
If you don’t know why you have the goals that you do, it will be hard to meet them. You want to lose weight, why? Is it because you want to fit into those jeans again or because you want to have more energy during the day? Are you trying to fend off weight-related illnesses such as diabetes or be able to get out and hike with your kids more? Knowing why you are doing something makes it a lot easier to follow through.
2. Set realistic and specific goals
Okay, your end goal might be to lose 20 pounds, but how about starting with 5? And before you even set on 5 think about how you are going to go about losing weight. For example, cutting back on sugar or carbs will give you a more specific idea as to how you might alter your eating habits in order to lose weight. With more specifics, you’ll get to that 20 pounds quicker than you think.
3. Check your sleep.
What does sleep have to do with goal setting? A lot. Studies have shown that those of us who are sleep deprived are more likely to give in to impulses and are less able to focus. In part, we don’t have the energy to exert self-control when we’re tired. The National Sleep Foundation outlines appropriate sleep as approximately 7-9 hours a night, but a reported 40% of us are sleep deprived. So perhaps before making any other goals for the year, making sure you get enough sleep should top the list.
4. Enlist a buddy.
Let’s face it, if you don’t like running, it’s going to be hard to motivate to run more. Enlisting a friend will not only make it more enjoyable as you can talk the miles away rather than begrudging them solo, but if you commit to meeting with a friend to run, you’re also less likely to bail. This applies whether you’re running, walking, cycling or going to yoga classes. Friends can be a great ally for motivation.
5. Be nice to yourself and keep things fun.
Remember we’re all human. Give yourself encouragement along the way and try to have some fun, too. If you’re trying to exercise more, sign up for a fun run or work with a trainer whose company you enjoy. If you’re working on healthy eating, try to find foods that you like and that taste good, and give yourself a treat once in a while if you’re feeling deprived.
Ultimately, be nice to yourself. Sure, you might fumble along the way. You’ll have that soda and maybe some pizza, you might skip a day of taking your vitamins or miss a workout and stay up too late some nights. But that doesn’t mean you should quit going after your goals. Healthy living is a way of life. A day missed here and there doesn’t change that. And being nice to yourself will make for not only a healthier you, but a happier you, too.