At the beginning of a new year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all of the things you’d like to change in your life. Fresh starts can be intimidating, especially when you think that only a massive overhaul is worth the time and effort.
When you set your sights on something big – “this is the year I will stop eating junk food!” – it can be a struggle to change your habits. You soon become discouraged and ultimately give up (it’s estimated that 80% of all New Year’s resolutions will fail by February).
Creating one small daily habit can be much easier than making one huge change. It’s all about setting a doable, realistic goal that you can stick with. (Need inspiration? Scroll below for a motivational quote that you can print off and post to your fridge!).
For example, rather than deciding to mediate for one hour each day, plan for 15 minutes. If you’re new to running, don’t sign up for a marathon this year – start training for your first 5K. Instead of banning all sugar from your diet, aim to eat two pieces of fruit each day and enjoy a small portion of dessert after supper to get your fix.
Setting a lofty, general goal like “I will lose weight this year” probably isn’t going to help you make any changes.
You need to get practical: how much weight? How long do you want it to take? What role will exercise, nutrition and technology play on your journey? Figuring out the concrete details will help prevent your best intentions from falling flat.
Use what you have
If your goal relates to exercise, you don’t need to buy fancy equipment or join a gym. There are lots of ways to get active on your own, even in the winter.
Think about the ways you can fit little chunks of activity time into your day, even if it’s just for five or 10 minutes. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a street away from the office. Take a walk over your lunch break. It all counts.
Don’t do it alone
For some people, the key to making change stick is accountability. Tell your family, your spouse or a friend about your plans. If you’ve got a good support system on social media, let your followers know what you’re doing. When you meet a goal, give yourself a high-five and celebrate with them.
Be kind to yourself
Lifestyle changes, even little ones, can be hard. It’s okay to dial back your goal if you find it too ambitious. And don’t beat yourself up if things go off track. There will always be times you miss your workout, eat more than you should or don’t seem to be making the progress you want.
The key is to stick with it, through good and bad spells. That’s the best way to make sure your new behaviour becomes a healthy habit with lasting power.
Want more information on healthy living and health-care delivery sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter and get all of our content first!