New Life Resolution: 4 Real-Life Tips To Extend Beyond January

happy new you - life resolutionsBy the end of reading this, you will not make the typical New Year’s resolution. Unless it works for you, then keep doing what gives you your desired results. With the mindset of a New Year’s resolution, some things may happen: changes may be temporary; outcome may be achieved but not turned into future progress; not hitting your desired outcome may cause discouragement. Instead, my emphasis will be on a life resolution. Hopefully you may be able to sustain these changes for longer than 2016 or the month of January.

  1. Accept where you are at now and where you want to see yourself in the future; whether it be long term or short term.

First, understand that the habits that we have today didn’t form overnight. In order to become a more enhanced version of you, some current habits also need to be enhanced. It took many years to form the current habits that we want to change. The past cannot be changed. Make changes for your future self. Be patient when trying to change these habits, aiming for any progress versus no progress. In regards to progress, you may get other positive outcomes that are not your primary goal. Be aware of all improvements that are not just the measurable ones, i.e. the number on the scale. Sure we need numbers and measurable standards to know how we are progressing, but pay attention to everything that may be improving.

What do you want to accomplish this year? This could be general for now. Now ask yourself: why do you want to make this lifestyle change? Be honest with what is going to drive you to accomplish this lifestyle change. For instance, I want to lose weight to become a role model for my family and have all of us feel better about ourselves. Hopefully this drive means something to you in order to keep you motivated. Don’t let a lack of motivation make you stop in January.

  1. Have a set end date that is realistic for you to accomplish this goal.

For instance, if you want to lose 30 pounds try to incorporate what is recommended. It is reasonable to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week so it may take 4 to 8 months to accomplish. Depending on your goal, you may need input from a team of weight loss professionals to help with various details. Find a certified expert in the field that you need, i.e. trainer, dietitian, clinician, etc.

How will you get there? It is easy to say where you desire to be in the future. The hard part is creating and following a specific plan. Try to break down your goal into steps to accomplish. You may not be able to get from A to Z very quickly, but you can try to get from A to B first. For these steps, try to set them up so that you feel confident that you can complete them easily. For instance, I want to lose 30 pounds. My first step may be to start exercising for 60 minutes, 3 days of the week.

With ease, you can build up your enthusiasm. Take your lifestyle into account. Knowing what your lifestyle may limit for you, what can you do instead? If you can’t devote 180 minutes of exercising per week, maybe start with 10 minutes of walking, 3 days of the week. Keep in mind, there may need to be individualized considerations for your specific goal.

  1. Set yourself up for success.

You should’ve found the underlying drive that will help you stay motivated. There may be other influences that could supplement your drive. Do you need help from others or would you prefer to work alone?

In what capacity would you need help from others? You could get a group of people to join you in your journey, perhaps someone in your household or someone that you can keep in touch with easily. If you don’t need other people to motivate you, what will keep you motivated? You may have to try different ideas before you find one that works for you. After reaching a small milestone, reward yourself with something that will sustain your motivation. For a 30 pound weight loss, after a 5 pound loss, get a pedometer or even a shirt in a smaller size. You could try having something visual like crossing off numbers as you decrease in weight. Know what motivates you and incorporate these rewards in your weight loss journey.

When you reach your long term goal, celebrate! Remember to keep up with everything you have changed for your life resolution. In being realistic with your lifestyle changes, these habits should be sustainable. If they weren’t, adjust. If you know that you will not give up sweets, then have a small portion every once in a while and indulge in fruit for the most part.

  1. When you are about to quit, don’t.

If you have attempted to reach any goals before, then you know that there will be challenges. If this comes up, think: What about this process is making you want to quit? Identify what you can do to overcome this barrier. If one of the steps is too hard to accomplish, break down the step further. Instead of quitting, settle for progressing slower. Don’t let yourself go back to where you started. You may not accomplish your goal in your designated time frame and that’s okay. With patience and “skill power”, you will eventually succeed in your life resolution. Everyone may have different success stories. We are all different. Are you doing better today than you were in 2015?

Keep going. Have a Happy & Healthy New Life!

chicken recipeHere’s a tasty recipe to get kick off your new life resolution:

Chicken with Whole-Grain Mustard & Zucchini in Packets

A good step for healthy eating would be to get lean protein sources and vegetables at every meal. This flavorful recipe makes it easy to include these food groups. If your diet calls for a starch, add a whole grain item for fiber. Check out this dinner recipe here.