Are you one of the millions
of people who has trouble making a New Year's resolution stick past February?
Read up to learn some tips on how to achieve your goals in 2011.
Every year, millions of people choose January 1st
as the day to begin a new life. And why not? It's a new year, and the feeling
of starting over brings most of us a sense of relief. Each January, we say that
this will be the year that we eat
healthier foods , exercise
more, quit smoking, save money...but often, by March we have slipped from our
promises to ourselves. Why is it so easy to make a New Year's resolution and
yet so hard to keep it?
Don't worry-you're not the first one to have this problem.
Aristotle called it akrasia, which he
defined as "acting against one's better judgment." We know that eating less
sugar and exercising more is good for us, and yet we find ourselves eating
chocolate cake in front of the television. Current
research at the University of Minnesota has found that we all have a
limited capacity for self-control, and the more demands there are in the
consumer environment, the harder it can be to adhere to our goal of a healthier
life. In short: maintaining a high level of motivation is tricky when we're
surrounded by temptations.
Here are some tips to help you stick to the goal you have
designed for yourself:
up. It's much easier to stick to a
plan if you're being held accountable for it. If you've got a friend with
a similar goal, set up a plan to enact it together: take jogs together in
the morning, share food diaries, or go to a group meeting. Cheer each
other on and celebrate small successes together.
try to do too much at once. Experts
University School of Medicine found in a 2002 study that setting too
lofty a goal will decrease your chances of success. Don't jump into a
high-intensity exercise plan or suddenly ban all sugars from your diet.
Experts suggest easing into a manageable workout plan or simply eating
smaller portions at meals. The idea is to create a plan that you will be
able to follow for the rest of your life-not just this year.
obstacles and be forgiving of slip-ups. Look
ahead in your calendar to see where you might have difficulty sticking to
your goal. Is there a party coming up with rich and fatty foods on the
menu? Are you going to be at a work retreat and away from the gym for a
week? Don't let these obstacles derail you-make them a part of your plan.
And if you have a setback, ask yourself why it occurred so that you'll be
more aware of your vulnerabilities next time. Being mindful of the
process, rather than judgmental, will help you have a relaxed and friendly
attitude toward your progress.
Check out the Create a Healthy Lifestyle
tool to help you design a personalized plan for improving your physical,
mental, and spiritual health in the new year.