7 tips for healthy resolutions you can keep in Southern California
New Year’s! Time to make grand plans and magically transform into your best self, right?
Actually, not so much. In fact, of the roughly 45% of people who make New Year’s resolutions to improve their health, about 80% have usually abandoned them by February 1.*
But don’t let that stop you. It’s possible to make positive changes, as long as you approach the process realistically — and strategically. Check out these tips to help you succeed.
1. Choose one goal.
Take time before New Year’s to think about a single, specific change you’d really like to make. You’ll increase your chances of success if you pick something that’s doable, and meaningful to you. For example, going from not exercising at all to running a marathon in one year is unlikely to happen. But committing to walking 30 minutes a day 3 times a week for 3 months could be a great place to start.
2. Break your goal into a series of smaller steps.
Make each step concrete, measurable, and time-based. Declaring that you’ll never, ever eat your favorite comfort food again might be unrealistic, for example. Instead, try making healthy choices at one meal a day to start with, and let yourself feel a sense of achievement. With each small decision you can have a positive effect on your health — plus, boost your confidence that you can achieve what you set out to do.
3. Make a clear plan to stay on track.
How will you deal with the temptation to skip that workout or eat that piece of cake? Choose what works for you, whether it’s calling a friend for help, writing in your journal, practicing positive thinking, or reminding yourself of your ultimate goal and how much you’ve already accomplished.
4. Ask for support.
Tell your friends and family about your goals and ask them to encourage your success. Setting up a supportive environment helps reinforce your resolve. Write up your motivations and put the list where you’ll see it when you need a boost.
5. Track your progress.
Using a journal, a spreadsheet, a vision board, or your favorite record-keeping device, note your starting point. Keep track of each success, however small. Every short-term win helps keep you motivated toward your larger goal.
6. Let go of the “all or nothing” mindset.
It’s totally normal to revert to old habits from time to time. Try to treat any lapse as a temporary setback, rather than a reason to quit entirely. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
7. If you slip up, get back up.
You’re on the path to good health. With each small, positive decision, you take a step forward. Try to be patient with yourself for the occasional misstep. Be persistent. Shake it off, start again, and keep going.
Remember, changing long-held patterns usually doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effort, which is why it’s important to choose a goal that matters to you. Think of willpower like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets. And the more you keep up healthy habits, the more they become your new normal.