If you’re like many, every New Year’s you make a resolution to live a healthier lifestyle, look for a new job, go back to college, or something else that could change your life. You start off like gangbusters, burn out and then give up. You didn’t build the life you have overnight and you can’t change it that way either. If you want to make that evolution from the current you to the new and improved you, it will take time. You need to be willing to commit to it and have support to help you reach the lifestyle goals you set for yourself.
If you truly want to make a change in your eating habits, exercise habits, job, or some other goal, here are a few tips to help:
- Develop a plan—You wouldn’t take a trip to a place you’ve never been without a map, directions, or GPS. Think of your plan as your GPS. Make it specific and put it on a calendar. Write down what time each day you’re going to exercise and what you plan to do. Keep your plan in a place you can check it regularly and remind yourself of what you need to do and when.
- Be realistic—Setting huge long-term goals can discourage you before you start. If you say you want to lose 50 lbs., losing one or two pounds a week may cause you to think you’ll never reach your goal so you give up. When you realize that there are 52 weeks in a year, however, means that this time next year you will have definitely reached a slimmer you. One or two pounds a week seems much more reachable. You’ll reach your goal often and feel good about yourself instead of discouraged.
- Include a friend—People generally don’t enjoy doing things by themselves. That’s why you take someone else to the movies or out to eat with you. Taking someone else with you on the trip to healthy living can make it more fun and make you more apt to stick with it. The other person can be a co-worker to walk at lunch with you, a family member to take a class with, or a friend who needs to stop smoking like you do. Having someone to talk to about your goals, share your successes with, and talk through problems you may be having can help.
- Ask for help—Men are notorious for not asking for directions. On this trip you’re taking, sometimes you might need help. It’s easy to get lost and revert to old habits. If you’re having trouble and you need someone to talk to. If you don’t have support of family/friends for this particular goal, look to see if there’s a support group you can join. If not, consider starting one. If it’s a behavior change you want to make a psychologist is trained to work in this area. Seeking professional help doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you’re strong enough to realize you need help and ask for it.
You’re not perfect. You may make a few mistakes along the way. With the right commitment, however, all things are possible!