Once each year, tradition allows all of us to take pause and create a conscious effort to make some positive health promoting behavioral changes in our lives – The New Year’s resolution! Waiting until January 1st to make your New Year’s resolution may keep in step with tradition, but may stop you from taking a step closer to creating health promoting change.
Starting the process before the New Year begins will increase your chance of reaching and maintaining your New Year’s resolution. However, if you find that he New Year has arrived before you have planned you New Year’s resolution, then break tradition and resolve to set aside a week or even two to work on your resolution in the first weeks of January. You are better off not having a resolution than to be disappointing having one that fails to be reached because you were not prepared to create a sustainable change in your behavior.
In an earlier article, we defined what a New Year’ resolution was and how to create a resolution vision statement.
In this continuation, here are 7 additional steps you can use to take your vision and turn it into an achievable goals throughout the year.
- Reflect on the positive – Reflect back on the past year and see what went right. Discover your strengths that were engaged in creating all that worked well and can be used to achieve your resolution – something is always working well, you just need to be able to discover it.
- Reflect on Opportunities – Consider what may have not gone as well as you would have liked and reflect on how you could have done something differently. Imagine the outcomes that could be – dream a bit. Consider failed pass attempts at reaching a goal or resolution as an opportunity to learn more about yourself – reflect on the experience.
- Define what small action step you can take within the first week – weekly goal(s) – to get you closer to your vision. Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific Measurable Action oriented Realistic and Time specific). Ex.; “By Wednesday of this week, I will investigate at least 2 gyms or programs that are available in the area”. Repeat this process each week. Plan as many goals as you feel are achievable.
- List the benefits of the change, but also list the costs. These could include, financial costs, time spent, associations with friends, impact on family and perhaps giving up something as a tread-off . This will help focus the goal.
- Compare the benefits of NOT changing with the costs of NOT changing these unhealthy behaviors. If you discover that there are more benefits and less cost to NOT changing, your New Year’s resolution has a good chance of not succeeding until you can discover a compelling reason to change or change your resolution.
- Determine what barriers might get in the way. Ex.; “I might get stuck at work”.
- Plan a strategy for each barrier. Ex.; “If I get stuck at work, I will exercise in the morning before work or on Saturday morning”.
- Write down your goals.
- Post them where they can be easily seen.
- Record your progress in a journal.
- Verify your vision every 90 days, and check in with your goal(s) monthly to assure they are still valid. Update them if there is a change or you reach your goals early.
- Share your goals with family and close friends to gain their support.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published.
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Sources: http://zoomdune.com/healthy-living-in-scottsdale/douglas-roill, http://zoomdune.com. http://www.b3nutrition.com, “New Year(‘s) resolution”. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus. Retrieved 30, December 2014., http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New_Years_Resolutions.shtml, http://www.43things.com/resolutions/trends, Report on Richard Wiseman’s Quirkology website, http://zoomdune.com/article/new-year-s-resolution-vision, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria