Taking time to care for yourself during the busy holidays

Making Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

December 9, 2015 — We’ve all done it. The New Year comes around and you are determined to do something to improve your health. Maybe it’s to quit smoking, get more exercise, eat healthier or lose weight. However, as a result of not seeing immediate results, many people give up, turn back and head downward.

A large majority of people bounce between failure and survival, only striving for success. This is common when making New Year’s resolutions—setting realistic goals for success but not taking small, realistic daily steps to accomplish these goals.

This New Year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your daily practices and make real, lasting changes. Here are a few tips for making realistic New Year’s resolutions and how to accomplish them, one small action at a time.

#1: Write out what you’d like to accomplish in 2016

You must make goals specific and give them a deadline. Also, put your written goal somewhere you can see it on a regular basis.

For example, if you want to quit smoking, set several dates by which you will cut back to a certain number of cigarettes, and an ultimate quit date. If you want to lose weight, give yourself a time and weight goal. “I’m going to lose X pounds by (date).”

#2: Develop a plan of daily action

By applying small actions every day, you’ll see success like never before. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to change too much at one time. For example, create an exercise plan and do a few minutes of exercise every day—and don’t skip it. Replace an unhealthy snack with a healthy one, or drink less soda and more water.

#3: Make resolutions measurable

Monitor your progress by keeping track of your daily actions in a journal and review your progress once a week. Don’t just focus on how much weight you lost or gained, but also acknowledge the actions you took, such as eating better or working out. This extra accountability step can make the difference between defeat and victory.

# 4: Practice patience

Once you’ve established your goals and take daily action, it’s important to remember patience and to stay positive. Yes, people want immediate results. However, research shows that less than 5 percent of people are willing to be patient and take simple daily actions over a period of time.

In addition to taking these positive, daily steps to achieve your goals, why not try practicing gratitude throughout the year as well? For example, every night before going to bed, write one small thing you are grateful for that happened during the day and place it in a “gratitude jar.” By the end of 2016, what a great New Year’s Eve you’ll have reading all of these moments of joy.

Remember: the Grand Canyon wasn’t created in a day, but over time. If you’re willing to be patient and apply some simple daily disciplines to your everyday life, then success may be even closer than you think. This year, set realistic and reachable goals to give yourself the best chance of success. What decisions and simple actions can you make today, and every day, that will amount to significant success throughout 2016?


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