Now that you know why your fail at achieving your New Year’s health resolutions, let’s dig into how to approach the journey to better health instead. It begins with having a plan.
- Rev up your can-do. Start with five minute changes. Instead of making a big unclear resolution, pinpoint one small, meaningful step you can take towards change that you can do in five minutes. For example, maybe your resolution is to eat healthier. Take five minutes to make a shopping list that includes more fruits and vegetables. Or make small tweaks in what you eat every day by eliminating one sugary drink a day. Small changes keep you moving toward your goal and help you get unstuck when you begin to fall off track.
- Stay motivated. One way to do this is to get an accountability partner or mentor. Another way is to create a vision board of what healthy looks like to you. Include images of you succeeding and living the life you want.
- Go for 10. Use the rule of 10, which simply means do something for 10 minutes instead of 30, or change 10% instead of 100%. So if you want to get healthier by getting fit, make your goal to do 10 minutes of exercise every day. You can work up to longer periods, but getting started is the hard part. With only doing 10 minutes of something you are more likely to do it. The same can be said for healthy eating. Instead of completely changing the way you eat all at once, add more fruit or vegetables or cut out 10% of sugar intake a day (like 1 donut), gradually decreasing until you’ve eliminated sugar from your diet.
- Make pre-commitments. Piggy-back what you want to change onto something you’re already doing. One way to do this is to add one more vegetable to your plate each day.
- Try the proximity trick. This works well if you are trying to add exercise to your daily routine. The trick here is to place your sneakers and workout clothes next to your bed each night. That way, when you wake up they’re the first things you see.
- Create a list. Make a list and cross off a task as you do it. This boosts your motivation. According to Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog!—21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, the dopamine or the motivation chemical is released whenever you “do something life-enhancing, such as completing a task.”
You want to approach the journey to a healthy life like you would any other important goal. Create lists, work on small steps at a time, and find ways to stay motivated along the way. Read the next post in the series here.