(I never make New Year’s resolutions because NEVER is how I keep them. However, I’m rethinking it this year to resolve to eat healthier based on these tips.)
1. Know who you are . . . and who you’re not
“Do the activities that make you who you want to be rather than just focusing on your goals. Decide the type of person you want to be: A healthy person? A strong person? A writer? A musician?
Then prove it to yourself with small wins over time: Gym classes, writing, practicing . . . Every time you do something toward the goal of you who want to be, tell yourself that you are becoming that person.”
(I want to be healthier . . . healthy might be a bit too big a stretch. And because food is medicine I want to eat healthier)
2. Make it something you like or enjoy.
(no problem – I LOVE to eat)
Avoid resolutions that sound great but are unattainable. Make them them something you will enjoy. They can still be hard, but that doesn’t mean they have to make you miserable.
3. Make it specific
Resolution idea: Eat an apple every day for lunch or snack.
Resolution idea: Have one donut on Saturdays for breakfast
Eating better and exercising more are all nice ideas, but they’re too general and don’t give you a plan of action. People often think they lack motivation when the problem is really a lack of clarity.
“The simple way to apply this strategy to your habits is to fill out this sentence:
I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION],”
(I’ WILL keep a bowl of fruit on the counter and cut-up vegetables in the refrigerator. I DO NOT ENJOY chopping vegetables so I’ll buy them already cut-up.
When I want to eat my go-to sugar with a side of carbohydrates I WILL EAT A PIECE OF FRUIT OR VEGETABLE.)
4. Change it up. Swap it out. Write your own rules
Instead of one year-long resolution set yourself monthly micro-resolutions.
(I might have to break it down into weekly . . . or daily . . . maybe hourly resolutions since I eat all day and all night)
5. Start Small
(I’m going to eat small pieces of healthy fruit and vegetables).
6. Allow yourself to fail
“Everyone screws up. Expect to have occasional slips. But don’t let the occasional missed exercise class or donut throw you off course. Most successful resolvers slip in January, but 71% of successful resolvers say their first slip strengthened their efforts through a combination of guilt, increasing awareness of their problem’s severity, and the slip reminding them to refine their plans.” (Who ARE these people?)
And if you do slip? Focus on getting back on track, not the slip. “The people who show more compassion for themselves are more likely to get back on the horse and try again.” (This might be a problem since I show compassion for myself by eating sweets.)
7. Set yourself up for success
(Since I want to “limit” sweets I must get them out of the house. I resolve: I WILL give them a stern talking to EVERY TIME they appear so they know they should leave.)
8. Make it public
(I just did)
“If you’re surrounded by supportive friends and family, making your goals public and asking for accountability can help. So can joining a gym with friendly competition or a group.”
(Probably the key to my past failures at keeping resolutions starts with the fact I prove myself right by thinking I can’t/won’t keep my resolve.)
“Think you can’t do it, you’ll likely prove yourself right. But if you believe in yourself, you are 10 times more likely to change via a New Year’s resolution, compared to non-resolvers, when both groups have comparable goals and motivation”.*
*University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, who has studied resolutions for decades.