New year, new you. It’s the year you’ll go to the gym every day, make delicious — and healthy — home-cooked meals, and finally finish that novel. We all start the year with high expectations. Many resolutions are made, but it can be hard to keep them. Here are tips to help you stick with your resolutions — and make a lasting change.
Uncover the why. Mindy Boccio, a senior consultant with Kaiser Permanente Regional Health Education, recommends you figure out the why behind your resolution. For example, you decide to quit smoking because you want to be a healthy role model for your children. Understanding why you want to make a change can boost your motivation and help keep you on track when you hit a rough patch.
Get specific. Eating healthy or exercising more is a fine place to start. But it’s important to set specific goals. Avoid generic resolutions, such as "work out more," and instead set clear goals. "Work out more" then becomes "walk for 30 minutes, 4 times a week." Other examples include:
- Try a new workout — like jumping rope or a spinning class — once a month
- Make a Meatless Monday dinner twice a month, where you can enjoy a veggie-packed meal
- Pack a lunch to bring to work 3 times a week — you’ll save money and avoid unhealthy takeout food
Another reminder — your focus should be on creating a healthy lifestyle, not chasing a number on the scale. Instead of thinking about burning calories, focus on building muscle, endurance, or just increasing your amount of physical activity. Then the goal is about what you want to gain, not lose.
Write it down. Keep a journal. Or jot down your jog times in a spreadsheet. The more you write down, the more successes you’ll have to look back on — and the less likely you’ll be to slip. If that still happens, no worries. Just focus on how far you’ve come. Every entry is another reminder of your victories along the way.
Find a friend. Tell your friends and family about your goals and ask them for encouragement. Having a support system in place can be a great way to keep bad habits in check, especially in times of temptation. Your friends can cheer you on — and be a part of your journey. So the next time you want to try a new recipe or a Pilates class, ask a friend to join.
Stay healthy. It happens to everyone. You’re in a groove when a nasty flu or cold knocks you out for a few days — or weeks. Protect yourself during the winter by making sure to get your flu shot. It will help you stick with your routine and keep you feeling your best through the winter months.
Making a change takes time. Remember that a resolution is a process that can lead to better health. For more encouragement and to get support, consider our online healthy lifestyle programs.