It’s a yearly tradition to deal with broken promises to take better care of ourselves. Whether we planned to lose weight, adopt a new exercise routine, eat healthier, or eliminate a bad habit, we seem to repeatedly let ourselves down. The fact is, only about 20% of us keep our New Years Resolutions, most of which are in some way fitness-related.
Over the years, I have been notorious for bogus New Year’s goals.
Having spent most of my life as an addict, though, I’ve accumulated some stepping stones that have helped me keep on my path. I consider this realistic goal-setting for a healthy life. I urge you to see your resolutions in a new light.
Here are 5 Ways to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions:
1. Be realistic.
Be honest about what you are capable of achieving. As I tell my yoga students often, “It’s not about how many classes you should come to a week, but how many classes you think you can continue to come to without dropping off.” Your goal could be to stop eating after 9 p.m., and then in a month, it bumps up to 8 p.m. and so on. Changes should never be all or nothing. Give yourself grace by setting realistic expectations for yourself.
2. Don’t use the same resolution again.
Set a new goal. This is a new opportunity to do something great for yourself. If you struggled to achieve that goal last year, maybe it needs to be rethought.
I’m sure the same tape plays in all of our heads during the holidays: “I’m just going to eat and enjoy myself. After the New Year, my diet starts.” This line is used by countless people, but it means nothing. If you are going to eat chocolate throughout December, then own it! In the New Year, if you say you aren’t going to eat chocolate, then good luck. But if you have said this before, odds are the same cycle is going to repeat itself.
3. Let everyone know about your goals.
As an addict, I know that the more you keep things secret, the harder it is to attain your goals. Even things like weight loss, new food choices or exercise plans should be shared with an accountability partner, family, or friend. Working through recovery has taught me that the more people you have on your side and the fewer secrets you have, the more successful you become.
Are you too embarrassed? Own up and be proud that you have recognized a change you need to make. Don’t go at it alone. Ask people to hold you accountable. Odds are that they will be proud to be an inspiration and support system for you.
4. Just Drink (More Water, that is).
When the body and brain are dehydrated, we feel sluggish. We confuse hunger for thirst, and we don’t function as we should.
If you are partaking in a fitness-related resolution, I urge you to drink up. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces a day, as a starting point. I begin each morning with an eight-ounce glass of warm water with lemon essential oil.
5. Watch for Self-Sabotage.
We all claim that we don’t have time, are too tired or stressed, or don’t have the money. Well, walking outside is free, screen time can be exchanged for exercise time, and it’s possible that your eyes and mind are drowsy from constant staring at the computer screen. You may just need an exercise boost, or to get to bed a little bit earlier!
Call yourself out about all these excuses! Be honest, because from honesty, new things begin.
If you are considering working with a coach to help you achieve your goals, consider joining me in my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass, starting in January 2020! We are offering a Beta Course, four months of coaching, for just $497 ($1,000 off original price).
Happy New Year!
Here are more New Year’s Resolution and Goal Setting Resources:
This article was originally published in Nature’s Pathways in January 2014.