What Your New Year's Resolution Has Been Missing
Often times we set ourselves up for disappointment with unrealistic goals that leave us feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. To make this New Year’s resolution truly different from years past; Devin Vicknair, PhD, Behavioral Specialist at GMC’s Center for Weight Management provides insider tips to create meaningful, lasting change in the new year.
Don’t Overlook the Mental Side of Change
Self-efficacy, or confidence in the fact that you can achieve something, is a large part of sticking to a fitness regimen or new healthy habits. When setting your goals, stick to what you know, since self-efficacy usually comes from having successfully done something before.
Furthermore, don’t lose sight of why you set your goal in the first place. Of course, there are many different types of motivation, so figure out what drives you and keep it in mind for those times when motivation is lacking. Write your goals down, share them with family and friends and read them every day.
Choose Consistency Over Intensity
When the excitement of the New Year begins to wear off, you may notice that your motivation and dedication to your new healthy habit begins to fade away. However, if you are in this for the long haul, then consistency is the name of the game. Exercising for 5 minutes or running 1 mile a day for a year is much better than trying to run 3 miles a day and quitting after the first month.
Also, keep in mind that our willpower is like fuel that reduces as the day progresses. This means that it may be harder to exercise after a long day at work because your willpower tank may be on empty! Try to achieve your goals earlier in the day while you have the motivation.
Keep Expectations in Check
Thinking that exercise alone will help you shed large amounts of weight could lead to frustration and disappointment. Physical activity needs to be combined with other lifestyle changes. Exercise without any other significant changes in diet usually only produces a few pounds of weight loss.
Instead of focusing on weight loss alone, look for results in your energy levels, your mood, how your clothes are fitting, your strength, physical functioning and inches lost—all of which will improve with exercise.
Create a Plan
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, it’s appealing to make general promises to eat better and exercise more; however, that makes it difficult to really achieve your goals or monitor progress. To help make these commitments to health more attainable, make your goal(s) specific. Also, plan beyond the first month; give yourself a month-by-month process to follow for the whole year.
Utilize the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting model which means your goals need to be: Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Attainable/Achievable and Time limited. To measure your goals, keep track of your progress in a journal, an app, or even a simple piece of paper; whatever you choose, make sure to recognize your progress.
Don’t Do It Alone
Getting the support of family and friends can make all the difference. When those healthy habits begin to feel like extra work, the support of friends and family will provide the extra boost you need, especially if they adopt the same healthy habits. Beginning a new health routine together is a great way to make it more enjoyable and to ensure accountability.