Change is not easy, and we tend to shy away from change because we’re happy and comfortable right where we are. Change is not something to dive into—it must be thoughtful, meaningful, personal, planned and realistic. One way to set ourselves up for success in creating positive change is to cultivate patience with ourselves and allow enough time to reach our goals.
Wake up your willpower. Think of willpower or self-control as a muscle. To make it stronger, you need to work at it and it needs to be done gradually. If too much weight is on the machine or the activity is too strenuous, our self-control muscle may collapse under pressure. Start off by making a conscious effort to say “no” or “not right now” to the sweets or to the snooze button, then gradually increase your resistance to those things that you want to change.
Whether it is going to the gym, quitting smoking or changing your diet, you do not need to do it all at once. Make small changes in situations that you know you can do and push yourself a bit more the next time.
Write down your goals. We are more likely to follow through with our goals if they are written down. Write down your goal and hold on to it, keep it at your desk or post it on your bathroom mirror. Use your phone to set reminders and keep track of your progress. Put post-it notes on your computer screen to remind you and motivate you.
One-at-a-time. Do not choose too many things at once to change. Pick one thing that means something to you and focus on that. Too much change can be overwhelming. Behavior change is something that takes time to incorporate into your daily life in order to create a healthy habit.
SMART goals. Break down your one resolution into smaller steps. Create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Specific goals allow you to stay focused and not stray too far from the task at hand.
Measurable goals are something you can witness over time, such as watching your weight or counting how many cigarettes you are smoking a day.
Achievable, realistic and timely goals tend to blend with each other. Make your goals realistic for you to achieve in the time allotted.
Keep a smile on your face. Not every day is going to be easy, and yes, there will be challenges. However, keeping a positive attitude will help you overcome temptations. Negative thoughts will make it harder for you to get through these rough times. Focusing on the reasons why you chose this resolution will help keep you move closer to your goal.
*Information for this article came from HealthScreen.
The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Talk to your physician before starting any new treatment or beginning an exercise program.