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Have you made a New Year’s resolution? Or do you shy away because you find resolutions too challenging to keep?
Today, I encourage you to think of one thing that you want to change and I will reveal three key strategies to help make it stick.
The most common resolutions include: weight loss, increase in exercise, enjoying life more, improving finances, spending more time with family and friends and helping others. However, a sobering statistic is that only 8 percent of people actually successfully achieve their New Year’s resolutions according to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Greg S Reid, motivational speaker, says it best:
Here are my top three strategies to make your 2015 resolution stick:
Whenever we are motivated for change, we tend to set BIG goals. After all, we are so inspired and believe we can do what it takes! This is great; however, research has shown that smaller goals are more likely to stick. This is pretty intuitive; it’s easier to commit to small-level change than a life overhaul. You will know your goal is realistic if it does not feel like a chore.
Therefore, with your goal or resolution, break it down into smaller steps that will keep you progressively moving in the right direction. Changing habits is not easy and you can revise your strategies to achieve more when you are ready. Remind yourself that small changes add up to big changes over time! Imagine if a year ago you started with a small change, like walking for 15 minutes a day. By now, you could have increased that level of physical activity significantly. That would be great progress! Thus, we need to start where we are today and make the plan so that your goals become a reality!
Whenever we try to achieve new things we should expect obstacles. This way we will not be discouraged or surprised when they appear. We can first acknowledge that behaviour change is difficult and not strive for perfection (read more here about how to avoid the “all or nothing” mental sabotage). If you expect that your resolution will come with obstacles, you can view them as inevitable roadblocks instead of a sudden disaster or dead end.
We as humans rely on others for emotional support and encouragement. You do not have to do it alone and can seek out your support of positive people with compassion who will hold you accountable. Try confiding in an encouraging friend when you feel your motivation waning. It works the other way too, encourage a friend to help boost their motivation and you will see your own motivation increase as well!
If your goal is to improve your health and diet, seek the support of a registered dietitian who can offer you encouragement, individualized guidance and hold you accountable. Begin by asking people who matter to you if they are able to be part of your support system for your resolution. They will be happy to help you!
The key to making a resolution stick is to have a realistic goal that is broken down into incremental steps and set a date. You want to acknowledge that there will be obstacles but remember that you do not have to be perfect (because none of us are!). Last, surround yourself with a support system to help with motivation.
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!
Andrea D’Ambrosio, MAN., RD
Invited Expert – Learn more about her