5 Tips to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions
Well, folks, we are now 7 days into the New Year and — like most of us — you probably made a few New Year’s resolutions without any real intention of implementing them, or you may have made many that you’ve already broken. Ugh. It’s so frustrating! We begin the new year filled with good intentions, and we end Week One in failure. To quote my best friend, Gina, “Two days into my diet and I’m still not skinny. This is bullsh*t!”
It’s not too late to get back on track toward making real, positive change in your life. But to do so, you may have to reel in those overly ambitious (and thus impossible to keep) New Year’s resolutions and replace them with a few baby steps that are actually attainable.
1. Start small. Don’t make a New Year’s resolution vowing to “drop 10 pounds.” Many on you who are reading this made such a resolution. Now, some of you may still be sticking to your guns. (Congratulations, but I’m telling you — back off before things go south. Because it’s likely they will.) Others, however, have starved yourselves to the breaking point, which has resulted in you devouring everything in sight, and now you’re currently beating yourself up for it. By the way, if you are like most of America, “Beating yourself up” means you have said “F*ck it,” thrown your diet out the window, and you’re most likely eating an entire bag of Cheetos while reading this blog. Uggh. So here is the “diet” trick that will keep you on track to lose the weight you desire. DON’T DIET… EVER. (Because there is no such thing as a “diet” that is healthy.) Instead, change that impressive (and impossible) resolution to something smaller and more attainable. For example, instead of “I’m going to lose 10 pounds,” change your resolution to “I’m going to eat a healthy salad for lunch 3 days a week, instead of my usual fast food.”
2. Be specific. If “I’m going to exercise more” or “I’m going to join a gym” were your New Year’s resolutions, you probably haven’t done much of anything so far. Especially if exercise hasn’t been a regular part of your life. If you rarely worked out in 2016, chances are you’re not going to miraculously become a 7-day-a-week gym rat with bulging biceps and ripped abs in 2017. Your current physical state didn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect to see change take place immediately. It takes time, and the more specific you are about the task at hand, the more likely you are to put in the time it takes to reach your goals. Broad resolutions just set us up for failure. Change these vague resolutions into specific executions: something like: “I’m going to join Jo’s Gym and attend the Total Body Toning Class Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:30.”
3. Write it down. I’m a big believer in the power of putting pen to paper. Somehow things seem more real when they are staring back at you in your own handwriting. It’s sort of like making a contract with yourself. Make sure, however, that your written list doesn’t get stuffed into a drawer and forgotten about. Tape it to your refrigerator door or your bathroom mirror – some place where you will see it every day.
4. Get help. Enlisting a friend to help keep you motivated is always a good idea. If you know that your friend is waiting for you at that yoga class you’ve signed up for, you are less likely to talk yourself into skipping it. But, in addition to having friends or family members help keep you on track, I suggest calling on the professionals whenever possible. Hire a nutritionist, if only for a consultation, to teach you how to really eat healthy. Pay for a few sessions with a personal trainer to help you learn how to work those bizarre machines in the gym. Join a weight-loss organization like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. We have to learn how to truly eat healthy and how to exercise efficiently before we can expect any real change in our outcomes.
5. Don’t beat yourself up. Failure is a part of life, folks. And perfection is unattainable. You may miss going to the gym that week. Or you may have accidentally found yourself facedown in a plate of nachos. (It happens.) One thing’s for certain: It’s not going to help the situation if you say “F-it,” and then throw the entire new eating plan away. You are not a failure; you just had a little slip. You are capable of living a healthy life. Change that negative internal dialogue, and get a grip on yourself.
So there you have it. It’s not too late to start again. Sometimes we just need a do-over. If you’ve found yourself on Day Seven of 2017 and you haven’t made any changes, or you’ve already thrown those resolutions out the window, lets revamp them and get busy, shall we?