I’ve told myself countless times that I’m not going to make any resolutions for the upcoming year, but whenever the year comes to an end, I’m tempted to set new goals because, well, I just love to challenge myself over and over again. Generally, I am very satisfied with how I choose to live my life, and more specifically, how 2021 went. Still, I have found over the years that striving for improvement (which, of course, is an individual goal for everyone) contributes to my overall happiness. I have learned to be happy and content with what I have and still strive for more because I believe that achieving small goals is healthy for building self-confidence.
Below I would like to share my top 6 tips that have helped me keep my resolutions over the past few years.
Create the right environment
Starting a diet shortly after the Christmas holidays is the most challenging time. You’ve probably spent the past two weeks enjoying delicious homemade treats, freshly baked cookies, and edible gifts. So before the new year begins, you should steer clear of any culinary temptations.
If you don’t want to throw away any food that’s still edible (which I totally get, as a nutritionist nothing frustrates me more than food waste), consider bringing it to work or give it away to friends and acquaintances who had to go empty on them at Christmas. Then, instead of tempting foods, shop for healthy alternatives like fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods to help you get off to a good start.
Involve your loved ones
The efforts involved in losing weight are often challenging to discuss with family and friends, but sharing your health resolutions with loved ones not only keeps you accountable to yourself but provides additional support and encouragement.
As Harvard Business Review magazine writes, the chances of success can increase when goals are discussed with partners, friends, or even the digital community. If you don’t want to share your plans with the whole world, simply choose one or two close friends whose trust and support you can rely on. Who knows, these friends might even accompany you to the gym.
In any case, start your New Year’s resolution knowing that you are not alone. Success will soon be yours with a healthy diet, exercise, and a little dedication!
A team of psychologists from Stockholm University analyzed the New Year’s resolutions of 1066 men and women. First, the team divided the participants into three groups: people who received no support, limited support, and extended support. Then, they checked how well the subjects stayed true to their resolutions each month. In the end, lead author Prof. Per Carlbring was surprised to find, “Participants’ support didn’t make much difference in terms of success rate, but rather what words they used to formulate their resolution beforehand.” If this had a positive undertone, the test person stayed longer than the negative. So, for example, “I will order a soft drink more often at social events” is easier to implement than “I must largely abstain from alcohol at parties.”
Let’s say your goal is to lose weight, as this is one of the most common ones; instead of telling yourself, “I am not allowed to eat chocolate anymore,” focus on “I will eat more vegetables.”
Be ambitious… but also realistic
Don’t set the bar too high with your resolutions. Don’t try to do everything differently overnight and turn your life completely upside down because this won’t happen just because we’re entering a new year. Utopian goals are hardly achievable and quickly demotivate. It is also essential to set intermediate goals. Smaller stages are much easier to achieve, and initial feelings of success keep you motivated. Then, step by step, you will reach your goal – Nothing prevents you from setting the bar higher during the year.
Keep your goals clearly in sight
Writing things down helps you become clear about unconscious actions. I like to see mine, so the paper with my 2022 goals hangs visibly on my fridge. This way, you have a clearer view of your goals, and you’re confronted with them daily. It’ll help you keep on track and see your progress. Finally, reward yourself with a pleasant experience when you reach intermediate goals.
Focus on anticipation instead of deprivation
Having a good reason is crucial. You need to be aware of why you want to change something, and you really need to have your own great desire to do so. Every change starts with a vision. A clear picture of the life you want to live will give you the motivation you need. It is vital that the resolutions feel good and that you feel anticipation rather than deprivation at the thought of implementing them.
Choose your most important two to three goals and focus on them. Set a clear schedule and start implementing them promptly. The first step is the most crucial but also the hardest. Once a routine has been established and you have integrated your plans into your daily routine, it’s all about perseverance. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks, but continue undeterred. The most important point for starting: Just do it.