6 Ways to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

You have the best intentions of making change in the new year, but let’s face it, change is hard. Most New Year’s resolutions peter out before the end of January. Here are some tips from The Wellness Center to give your resolutions a fighting chance.  Contact The Wellness Center if you have any further questions.

1.   Be specific: It is much harder to know what steps are necessary to create change when the goals are vague.  Instead of declaring to get healthy, set your mind on exercising four days a week.  Instead of setting your goal to be a more conscientious spender, make a plan to create a budget and set aside $100 a month for savings, or for a fun trip. Write your goals down and the steps it will take to get there. Having a road map makes the trip less overwhelming.

2.   Make it attainable:  When the changes are unrealistic, we just set ourselves up for failure. Make baby steps that accumulate towards bigger change. Don’t focus on losing 35 pounds. Focus on losing the first five, and be sure to celebrate your success at each milestone.

3.   Track progress: This is how you stay accountable to yourself. When you see positive results, it encourages you to keep working hard. When you see patterns of mishaps, you have valuable data to help tweak your approach.

4.   Create an audience: Having a cheering squad is a powerful motivator. For some it’s the fear of public failure that allows them to stay focused. For others they desire a public victory. Having a partner working on a similar goal is also a fantastic way to stay focused on the prize while offering and receiving encouragement along the way.

5.   Anticipate mistakes: Many a resolution has been thwarted by feelings of defeat over a slip up. Note to self: “You are not going to do this perfectly, and there will be setbacks.” When we make space for imperfection, we are much more likely to continue working hard at the tasks at hand until we reach our goals. If your plan is to eat five small nutritious meals a day, and on the 5th day you broke down and ate a brownie, well you still ate 24 out of 25 meals healthfully, which is great progress.

6.   Surf the urge: This is a mindfulness technique created by Alan Marlatt that will help you work through times of intense craving. The task at hand is to recognize the urge fully and then, without judgment, let it be, without feeding or fighting it. When you ride the urge, it becomes external to you and easier to navigate. In a matter of minutes (usually less than 30) you feel the intensity dissipate, until it is over completely.