Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are:
- Lose Weight
- Quit Smoking
- Save Money
- Eat Healthy Food
- Manage Stress
We can all identify at least one thing we’d like to improve about ourselves. However, only 8% of the folks who make a resolution actually meet their goal. I would resolve to lose weight at the start of each year. I finally reached my goal in 2011 when I followed these 5 steps to lasting change:
1. Be Determined
Fully commit to your goal. Think in terms of this great quote by Martina Navratilova:
The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs.
The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.
This doesn’t mean you have to take extreme action. Just be determined to take it one step at a time and to continue your journey regardless of the obstacles you encounter.
2. Be Mindful
Note your current habits. Acknowledge your traits and triggers. Make small changes as you go along – again, take it one step at a time. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, begin by keeping a food journal instead of starting a crash diet. You can continue to eat whatever you want – just be sure to write it down. Understand why, when, what and how you eat before you seek to make changes.
3. Be Smart
Know yourself and set realistic goals. What truly motivates you? Learn everything you can about the subject and find out how other’s have met similar goals. For example, I liked the idea of being thinner, but the goal of wearing a smaller dress size was too easy to put off. On the other hand, relief from stiff achy joints was quite motivating – so I focused on learning more about health and nutrition rather than simply losing weight.
4. Be Organized
Establish a routine and develop good habits. True change lies in the small adjustments we make each day. What habits do you need to develop to meet your goal? For example, I know meal planning helps me stay on track with healthy eating, but planning ahead is not one of my natural traits. It was easier for me to develop the habit of keeping key ingredients on hand to create simple meals on the occasions when I forget to plan ahead.
5. Be Dedicated
At first glance, step number 5 may appear to be the same as step number 1. The difference is in the timing. You begin your journey with determination. You continue your journey through dedication. Expect to stumble and lose your way. The trick is to keep coming back. I reached my goal and have maintained a healthy weight by repeating steps 1-4 over and over again.