Eat more vegetables. Lose 20 pounds. Spend more time with my family. Do these goals sound familiar? According to Forbes, more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to live a healthier, happier life. However, only 8 percent of us manage to stick with our goals past January. Instead of laziness or lack of motivation, psychologists often blame unrealistic ideals and impatience for our failed attempts. This year, make the most out of your resolution by following these tips, designed to help you stay motivated and on-track with your goals throughout the year.
- Start S.M.A.R.T. This acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound, is a helpful tool that can help you set an achievable goal. For example, an ideal to “Meet my target blood sugar range,” can be difficult to meet. You’ll see more success if you set a more specific goal to, “Manage my blood sugar by testing and logging it before and after meals every day.”
- Only change one activity at a time. New Year’s resolutions may sound good at the time you’re making them, but it’s important to remember how much work each one involves. You only have so much time and willpower, so when setting your goals, remember to be realistic about how much you can really achieve. For example, starting a new cardio workout routine while beginning a new diet may be a little challenging to complete, especially alongside your goals to spend less money and read more often. The best way to stay on-track? Choose one main goal and focus your energy on that.
- Give yourself a 30-day trial. Just like signing up for a new gym or website, you shouldn’t commit to a goal before you know how it works for you. Instead of holding yourself to a poorly-formed goal, test it out for a few weeks before you officially begin. For example, your goal may be to go to the gym for 30 minutes every day. But if you’re working long hours at the office or busy watching the kids after school, it’s easy to change your goal to getting 30 minutes of activity every day instead.
- Don’t beat yourself up. It can be tempting to push for perfection, but it’s important to remember no one’s flawless. When you do fall off the wagon, don’t use it as an excuse to give up. Instead, look at your mistake as a learning experience, and then get back on track. The ability to become resilient and successfully overcome obstacles can make you much more likely to achieve your desired result.
- Ask for help. Whether it’s a hug from a family member or a kind word from your best friend, sometimes all you need is a little support. Surrounding yourself with encouraging people can provide you with much-needed advice and motivation boosts, especially during difficult times. If you’re struggling to see results or stay on-track with a healthy lifestyle, make sure to talk to your doctor with any questions or concerns.
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