Only 8% of Americans achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. Here are some tips to tip the odds of success in your favor.
Make it social. Join an online group of people with similar goals. Join a local fitness or walking group. Make a standing date with a friend to hike and brunch on Sunday mornings or go to yoga and meditation on Thursday evenings. When we tie our goals to others’, we are all more successful. Making healthy living a social venture provides support, accountability and motivation.
Keep it mindful. Is your resolution about breaking a harmful habit- like smoking or stress eating? According to addiction physician Dr. Judson Brewer, we don’t need to rely on raw willpower alone. Instead of telling us to stop smoking, for example, he challenges us to be fully mindful and present for every inhale. Most people realize the smoke actually tastes horrible and smells worse. Being 100% present can help break its spell.
Break it down. Our goals are often focussed on an endpoint instead of an action. We need to be specific and make a plan. So if you’ve resolved to lose 10 pounds over the next year, instead resolve to exercising from 7:30-8:15 am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The results will follow. Lasting changes require daily commitment.
Visualize it. Elite athletes prepare for events by visualizing their success. We can learn from this. Develop a clear picture of your realized resolution, imagine how it feels, and thank yourself for working toward it.
Make it bigger than you. Many of us honor commitments to others more than those to ourselves. If we can align these commitments and everyone wins! If you are trying to get more organized, start with a large box to fill with donations. If your goal is to stick to a plant-based diet, do it in the name of environmental activism. If you want to run a marathon, train with a fundraising team.
Know that you are worth the effort. The busier we are, the more trouble we can have prioritizing self care. It can feel selfish or indulgent. The reality is that only once we consistently take care of ourselves can we be efficient, effective, present and compassionate to those around us. Social activist Audre Lorde realized “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Here’s to 2018- may you enjoy health, happiness and peace!