Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? Were you motivated, energized, and disciplined on January 1st, 2nd, and maybe even the 3rd, but are slowly having more and more trouble sticking to that new workout, new skin care regiment, weight loss plan, or other intention to be healthier in 2014? If not, good for you! If you are, you’re not alone!
The start of a new year is a great time to make change. Most people start big lifestyle changes at this time, but unfortunately many people “fall off the wagon” for various reasons. Before making any big change, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
Do I want this change?
Am I ready for this change?
Do I have support to make this change?
What are my biggest obstacles or challenges I might face when making this change?
How will I maintain this change?
Believe it or not, sometimes we resolve to make changes that we don’t really want, but feel like we “should” or have been pressured by other people to make. If you don’t really want to lose weight, you won’t, whether you made it your New Year’s Resolution or not. You have to really want it for the change to happen, and even that isn’t enough. . .
You also have to be ready for the change. If you are making a diet lifestyle change where you are giving up gluten, being ready means tossing out or hiding all of the gluten-containing food items that will only tempt you by being there! If your resolution is to go to the lose weight by working out, being ready means already having the gym membership, time carved out, good workout sneakers, motivating playlist, water bottle, and whatever else you need to be prepared to go to the gym.
One of the most important parts of following through with goals is having support. Surround yourself with people who are proud of you for making the change, and will help to motivate you when you are starting to slack off. This could be a friend or loved one, or it could be a coach, trainer, or health care professional. When your resolution is related to your health having a health care professional on your side is crucial. Many resolutions like losing weight, cholesterol management, and fighting age related decline require the support of a physician.
Knowing the challenges that will inevitably pop up along the way is essential to success. It goes hand-in-hang with another item the on this list, being ready. When you anticipate challenges and have a plan of action to deal with them, it will strengthen your ability to handle them and stick with your resolutions. This could be how to deal with parties and going out to dinner when you have changed your eating habits, or if you are trying to quit smoking and find yourself in a situation where you would typically reach for a cigarette. Have a strategy in place before you reach an obstacle, and you will find that they aren’t such big challenges after all! (Here is where your support can come into play!)
Maintenance is just as important as making the change in the first place. The challenges that are there along the path to change will still be there when you reach maintenance phase, and if you’re not thinking about how you will maintain the change once you get there, you will find yourself right back at square one, making the same New Year’s Resolution for 2015. To help maintain the change you want to make, continue to ask yourself these questions to make sure that you still want it, you’re still ready and prepared for it, you still have the support you need, and you are able to anticipate and plan for challenges along the way.
As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into creating positive changes in your health. It’s easy to set a resolution to get healthier, but that is only where the real work begins! If you have made it a goal to adopt healthier habits in 2014 (or drop unhealthy ones), give yourself a pat on the back! Then, refer back to these 5 questions as often as you need to in order to stay on track and get to where you want to be.
Here’s to a very happy and healthy 2014!