The start of a new year often brings with it the best intentions for improving ourselves in some area. Although the best time to make a resolution is whenever you notice that something’s out of kilter in your life and needs changing, we’ve all been indoctrinated that the first of the year is the time to start new programs, break bad habits, and set new goals.
What does it take to really make changes “stick”? How will a resolution you make now differ from the last several that you’ve made? Here are some tips:
- Write it down. Whatever you intend to do, put it in writing. Also write down your major obstacles and how you intend to deal with them – in other words, make a plan.
- Share it with others. Tell a few close friends what you intend to do and ask them to assist you in accomplishing your goals. Be accountable to them.
- Change your environment and make it conducive to accomplishing your health objectives. That means getting rid of the “bad” food and making sure your house, car and office are stocked with “good” options. Foods are addictive (especially sugar and cheese), and you cannot stash them in the house and then try to avoid them. Set a deadline when all unhealthy foods will be removed from the house, and replaced with healthier options. Also assure that you have the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle (rice cooker, blender, food processor, and so on).
- Schedule it in! Exercise, food shopping and preparation, and everything else you do to maintain your health takes time. If you don’t set the time aside, these things simply will not happen. You must commit to making the time for education, learning new shopping and cooking skills, on-going food preparation, etc. Make appointments in your day planner to do these things, and then honor those appointments as you would any other.
- Make a commitment and reinforce it daily. Make a list of “affirmations” to say every morning. The list could include your motivation for changing habits, and what you’ve committed to do. Review and recite your list out loud in the morning.
- Observe your behavior. Journaling is a good way to do this, because we often delude ourselves into thinking we’re doing better than we actually are. Keep track of what you’re doing every day, and assess if your choices and behavior is in line with your stated goals. When they are not, ask yourself why. Have your goals changed? Do you need to re-commit? Are you not setting yourself up for success? Do you need assistance? Whatever the issue, fix it before it becomes permanent and your plans are derailed.
- Hang out with people who make health a priority. You’ll need a support system in order to achieve your goals. You can enlist your friends, or take part in my on-going classes for continual learning and support. Sign up for our Healthy Potlucks where you can taste a variety of delicious foods. Whatever you choose, don’t try to do it alone.