We’re going to be in 2023 before we know it, and I bet you’re thinking about what resolutions you want to make. You want to eat healthier, exercise more, or just take better care of yourself. But here’s the thing: making these changes is not as easy as doing them for one month out of the year! So instead of setting resolutions for yourself and then failing at them by next week, why not try these suggestions instead?
Here are some tips on how to stay motivated throughout the whole year instead of just January 1st through January 31st.
Skip the new year’s resolutions.
If you're like most people, your New Year's resolution is to lose weight and get in shape. The problem with this goal is that it's too vague and far-reaching. You can have a list of as many resolutions as you want, but if you don't know how to measure them or make them actionable, they aren't going to work. The trick is finding something specific (like running one mile a day) that will give you measurable results at the end of 30 days.
Identify your non-negotiables.
Think about the things that are most important to you. Think about what motivates you, and how you will know when these goals have been achieved. For example:
You are a marketing manager at a major corporation. Your non-negotiable is that you want to be able to have enough time in between meetings to eat meals and snacks so you can continue performing your best at work.
You are a busy mom who works part-time while also attending college classes on weekends in order to pursue your dream of becoming a nurse practitioner one day. Your non-negotiable is finding quick, healthy, nutrient-dense meals you can make for your family that won’t zap what little energy you have left.
You know you want to find out which foods are causing you to bloat. You will know your goal has been achieved when you have a list of foods you know cause you digestive upset.
Plan for success.
When you're making a plan for success, it's important to remember that planning is not the same as goal setting. Goals are the end result of your efforts—the destination. A plan is more like an itinerary for getting there. It gives you a roadmap or map that shows you where you're headed and how to get there with less risk of getting lost or stuck along the way.
Planning can help you overcome obstacles by reducing stress and anxiety, increasing self-efficacy (your belief that you can do what needs to be done), improving communication between team members and strengthening teamwork, and providing clarity around priorities so everyone knows exactly what they should be working on at any given moment in time; and finally but most importantly: helping people stay accountable when they fall out of line!
Be flexible with your goals. Remember that the goal is to make a positive impact, not to achieve any specific outcome. If you set a goal and it doesn't pan out, don't worry! You can always adjust your plans as needed. Instead of getting frustrated by failure, try to learn from it and use it as an opportunity to grow.
Be flexible with your schedule. New years resolutions take time—sometimes lots of time—to complete, so be sure to give yourself enough time in your schedule for each task you set out on during this challenge period (unless you want another resolution!).
Be flexible with your diet/exercise routine/mindset etc., depending on what applies!
Let go of perfectionism.
Let go of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is an exhausting, excessive desire for flawlessness and also a self-imposed pressure to do everything perfectly, no matter how much time it takes. Perfectionism can lead you to overwork yourself and give up too soon when things don't go according to plan; or worse yet, it can cause you to procrastinate or avoid taking action altogether because failure feels so scary that it's easier not to try at all than to risk failing.
The truth is that perfectionism doesn't exist: there are no perfect people or perfect outcomes out there for us—so why should we expect ourselves to be? We're all imperfect beings doing our best in this world—and I think that's pretty amazing!
Be more mindful of how you look at food, exercise, and your body.
Instead of setting a goal of losing weight, focus on being more mindful and present with what you're eating, how you're exercising, and how you feel about your body. This might sound counterintuitive at first because we've been taught that the only way to be healthy is by losing weight.
I would say that 95% of the patients who seek my services are looking for weight loss. But, the number on the scale doesn’t tell me how well you are sleeping, how you are regulating your blood sugar, and how you feel about your body, it just gives me a number. When my patients are so focused on the number on the scale vs. these more reliable markers of health, other areas of their health suffer, including sleep, how many calories they are eating, how present they are showing up for their lives.
It's important to remember that weight loss is not an adequate marker of your overall health. You will want to look at the larger picture - like what your labs look like, how much energy you have, how you feel in your clothes, and how well you sleep. And while there are many different ways we can become more mindful when it comes to our bodies and health, here are three tips that have worked well for me:
Ditch the food rules - all foods fit in a healthy diet
Find movement that you enjoy (and that your body can handle!)
Start each morning by saying aloud one thing you enjoy about your body
Stop planning to do things and just do them! It's a lot simpler than it sounds though.
Start by making a list of things you want to achieve in the next year. Don't think about it too much, just write down what comes to mind. Once you have your list, try thinking about each item and asking yourself:
Can I do this today? (If not, write it down for another time.)
Is there any reason why I can't start doing this immediately? (If so, figure out what needs to change for this goal to be achievable.)
How will I feel when I accomplish this goal?
Now, we’ve given you a lot of information to think about. We know it can be overwhelming. But don’t let that stop you from taking action! Remember, the most important thing is to take one small step towards your goals at a time—and if it doesn’t work out, try again another day. All of us have bad days and moments where we feel like quitting everything. But don’t give up! Remember: every step towards your goal is progress in itself! So go ahead and ignore those New Year Resolutions this year—you deserve better than that anyway.