Did you make a New Year resolution this year? Or are you one of those that has quit making them because you haven’t been successful in the past? That happens to a majority of people as John C. Norcross, PhD, University of Scranton psychology professor reports that 60% of those who make a resolution for the new year give up on it by half way through the year. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that he also reports that a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found those that make a new year resolution have a 10 times better chance of achieving their goal than those that desire a change but don’t make a formal resolution. With this information and knowing that studies also show that many New Year resolutions are health related with 21% involving weight loss, 14% involving increasing exercise and 7% involving eating a more healthy diet maybe it’s not time to give up on making resolutions just yet. It may be that all you need to do is change how you view and act on your resolution.
New Year Resolution: New Perspective
If you traditionally set a long term goal for yourself, like maybe losing 30 pounds, and then struggle through the year concentrating on foods you won’t eat, this may be why you haven’t been successful in the past. This year no matter what your New Year resolution is, resolve to go about it differently and start with a resolution plan of action. According to Heidi Reeder, PhD, who wrote Commit to Win: How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals, the majority of people believe willpower and motivation are the keys to accomplishing a goal. What she says is really needed instead is commitment. Having a plan of action that breaks down the final goal into smaller goals and incorporating rewards along the way for each step can help you be more successful and define your commitment. Looking ahead for pitfalls and establishing a plan to avoid them or deal with them can also help you be more successful. The way you word your smaller goals can also make a difference. For example, David Grotto, RD, author of The Best Things You Can Eat, suggests a goal for weight loss can be worded as “I will eat healthier” rather than “I will go on a diet”. Going on a diet implies a short term effect with starting the diet until you lose the desired weight and then stopping it. This seldom works as we tend to just put back on all the weight we lost. Making a lifestyle change to include eating healthy foods and cutting out unhealthy foods is a lifelong commitment rather than a short term fix.
New Year, New You Action Plan
Even if you have already made your New Year resolution, it’s not too late to go back and start over with implementing an action plan. Start by taking some time to think about your goal. We often get excited about setting goals for a new year and set ourselves up for failure by picking goals that just aren’t realistic for our situations. Be honest about how much you are really likely to do and the level of commitment you have to reach your goal. Keep your goal simple and something you believe you will be able to easily do. Break your goal up into smaller goals that will make it more realistic and easier to accomplish. For example, if your goal is weight loss, start with a small goal of one unhealthy food you will give up this week or this month. It might be that you will give up the candy bar you eat in the afternoon to boost your energy level. That’s it. Just concentrate on that one thing for now. Don’t think about how many pounds you want to lose or the size smaller dress you want to fit into or the bowl of ice cream you ate after dinner. Just take one step at a time and focus on that one step. That keeps it simple and something you can commit to doing. Once you have that one step down and are no longer struggling with it, move on to another small step. Working towards your goal in small steps gives you a better chance of reaching the end goal which is better than giving up before the year is over. Writing down your goal, the small steps you are taking to get there and your progress along the way can help you keep your motivation level up, so consider writing your action plan down in a special resolution journal. Keeping a written record also allows you to go back and find areas where you encountered trouble with a step and make a plan to work through that trouble.
Measuring and Rewarding Your Progress
As you make your goal and your steps, consider that you need some way of measuring your success. If your goal doesn’t have a measurement tool included then how do you know when you have met it? Some examples of a measurement of success in the example of weight loss could include:
- I will eat an apple in the afternoon instead of a candy bar.
- I will take a 30 minute walk at least 3 times a week.
- I will eat fish twice a week.
- I will lose 2 pounds this month.
- I will go to the gym and exercise 3 times this week.
As you meet each of these small steps make sure you reward yourself in some way. Of course don’t reward yourself with fattening food if you are trying to lose weight. Make your reward something more along the lines of treating yourself to a massage or a movie night out with friends. Taking the extra time to make an action plan may sound like a hassle and just one more thing to do in your already busy schedule, but if you are really committed to your goal, it will be worth it. Including rewards in your planning will help you keep your motivation level up. If you find yourself getting frustrated or discouraged at meeting your health goals or not having the time to devote to keeping up with your resolution journal, just simplify the whole process. Before doing something that will sabotage your goal, ask yourself what is one thing you can do right now instead that would count as working towards your goal. For example if your goal was to get to the gym 3 times this week and work has kept you late every night, look for some type of exercise you can do right now to take the place of that and just change your small step. Can you go for a ten minute walk, walk in place at your desk, walk around your office while on the phone? Find something you can do in your situation right now to count as a small step towards your goal.
Supplemental Support for a New You
Your health goals aren’t going to just be achieved overnight and breaking them down into small steps may help you be more successful in the long run, but it also means it may take longer to meet the final goal. You can help your body out with extra wholefood nutrition while you are working on your changes though. A body that is getting the nutrition it needs means it performs better, handles stress better and is less likely to have unhealthy food cravings. A wholefood supplement program like this algae based program can help give you the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients from AFA bluegreen algae, as well as probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your body get the most out of the foods you eat and to help your body deal with toxins. As you work towards a new you, you can also support your body replacing damaged body cells by adding antioxidants to your diet. Make one of your small steps in your health goal be adding more fruits and veggies to your diet to increase your antioxidant intake. Not only do antioxidants help fight off free radical damage, but they help nourish our natural adult stem cells which can then become other types of body cells and be used to repair damaged cells anywhere in the body. If you aren’t getting enough antioxidant foods in your diet, then consider this antioxidant algae supplement that gives you all the powerful nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae and natural antioxidants including wild blueberry, green tea, and carnosine. More antioxidant power working for you means a new you on a cellular level.
This year can be your healthiest year yet. Stick with your New Year resolution by simplifying, breaking it down into small steps, measuring and rewarding progress, and keeping it realistic for you. A new you in the new year can become a reality just by committing to make it so.
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Bruno, Jeffrey, PhD, Eat Light and Feel Bright