As we near the end of January, some of us may well be falling out of our healthy habits. Are you?
As we near the end of January, some of us may well be falling out of our healthy habits and back into our old ways. Are you? The key to sticking to your resolutions is keeping them top of mind, setting smart goals, and not feeling bad about re-evaluating them through the year.
1. Revisit last year’s goals
Do you remember what your New Year’s resolutions were last year? If you keep making the same goals each year but don’t stick to them, make this the year to finally do it! First, think about exactly why you didn’t follow through last year. Chances are, it’s because your goals weren’t “SMART”:
- Specific (broken down into precise, small actions)
- Measurable (easily charted on a calendar and assessed regularly)
- Attainable (achieved by making one small change at a time)
- Realistic (customized based on your unique situation)
- Timely (each action achieved within a set time period)
2. Clarify your goals and make them SMART
With the SMART system in mind, it can be easier to see where you might have gone wrong. For instance, if you vowed to run a half-marathon but hate running, that probably wasn’t a realistic or attainable goal for you to get in shape. Know yourself—you very likely won’t follow through with something you dislike! Instead, if you love dance, you may make it a goal to join a salsa dance club in your neighbourhood and attend three times a week.
Or, if you vowed to lose weight, consider breaking your goal down so it’s more measurable, specific, and timely by attaching a measurement and date to a realistic action. For instance, “I will lose five pounds by March 1.” Then make a solid plan to follow through with it.
3.Enlist some outside help
Asking a friend for support can be a great way to stay on track. Getting professional help from a counsellor or life coach can be an even bigger step and source of support.
4. Give yourself a backup plan
No one is perfect! Keep in mind that all is not lost if you fall off the wagon—as long as you pick up your healthy habits again. Make use of the “three-day rule” mentioned in our new article “25 Ways to Embrace Health.” In it, licensed clinical psychologist Josh Klapow suggests, “If you go three days without doing your health habit, write down the reasons for not doing it. Then, pick a date you plan to start back up. Put that date on the calendar and tell at least one person the date. This strategy will help you catch a slip-up early and give you a plan for getting back on track.”
Remember that your goals don’t have to be set in stone. Throughout the year, keep re-evaluating your goals: are they still working for you? How can you improve them? Then you’ll be sticking to them all year long!
Looking for more advice on sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?
These alive articles have your back:
- “A New Year Full of Promise”
- “New Year, New Goals”
- “It’s Not Too Late to Keep Your Resolutions”