It is already near the end of January and time to check in with your New Year’s Resolutions. Most people start out the year ready to change and are motivated to stick with their health resolution for the year. Whether it is to exercise more often, eat healthier, lose weight, or quit smoking, resolutions can be difficult to maintain. New Year’s Resolutions do not have the best track record as one third of them will not last until the end of January. Four out of five people will eventually break them. So, how are you doing? Here are some quick tips to help you stay motivated and beat the odds this year.
1. Believe in yourself. Self-efficacy, or the belief that you can create and maintain change, is very important to succeed. Believe in yourself and your resolution!
2. Tell a friend. This will help keep you accountable and your friend can act as a motivating factor. Even better, grab your friend to join you- try new recipes, go to the gym together, go for a walk to chat, etc.
3. Prepare. Leave your running shoes by the door or make your healthy lunches at the beginning of the week. Now you will have fewer excuses and hurtles to create your healthy change.
4. Identify risky situations. Situations will come up to test your resolve to maintain healthy behaviors. However, it helps to identify these people, places or events ahead of time so that you are prepared. Develop strategies to deal with these situations to keep yourself on track.
5. Create mini-goals. Set reasonable and attainable mile markers to break up your bigger resolution. Mini-goals are easier to maintain and can be encouraging as you hit each mile marker.
6. Reward yourself. When you meet your mini-goal, treat yourself. But, keep it in line with your overall goal. Instead of treating yourself to a high-calorie dinner, buy yourself new workout clothes, a new jump rope or a new water bottle. These rewards will encourage you to continue your regime without setting you back a few thousand calories.
7. Keep Trying. Setbacks are normal, you just have to be prepared and recommit to your goal when they happen. Missing one opportunity does not affect your habit forming process. If you keep stumbling, review and make adjustments to your resolution and try, try, try again.
You have passed the infamous 21 day mark for making habits stick. Are you frustrated that your resolution has not become an easy habit yet? New studies suggest that it takes about two months to make a new behavior become automatic. However, this timeline depends on the person, the behavior change and the circumstances. It actually can take anywhere between 19 and 254 days. While this can be a frustrating revelation, it also means that if you have not mastered your behavior change yet, it is okay! Embracing these longer timelines help us to realize that habits do not change in one day. You can be successful in reaching your resolution by using these seven tips and remembering that your resolution is a marathon not a sprint.