For more than half of Americans a new year means a chance to make New Year’s resolutions. But, sadly, only between eight and nine percent of us will actually achieve our New Year’s goals.
It’s not all bad news, though. Because getting into that eight percent is easier than it may seem given those disturbing statistics.
In fact, if you follow just three simple steps you could put yourself on track to reach your goals and make 2017 your healthiest year yet.
Making resolutions is easy. But the key to keeping them, however, is to rely on The Three Pillars:
- Keep it simple
- Make it specific
- Aim for achievable
You see, the biggest problem people make when choosing their New Year’s resolutions is they pick goals that are too big, too broad, or are simply just too much to tackle at one time. Make those mistakes, and you’ve set yourself up to fail.
Swap out resolution failure for goal success
Looking at some of the top resolutions for 2017 it’s easy to see where folks went wrong. Here’s how to swap three of this year’s most popular resolutions with ones you’ll actually keep:
Resolution One: Eat healthier/Lose weight
Losing weight is always, by far, the single most popular New Year’s resolution. It’s also one that’s almost always doomed to fail too. The problem is it’s so vague that people have a hard time sticking to it. Or they make the goal too big and try to give up too much, or change everything, all at once. As soon as you feel deprived or overwhelmed you’re well on your way to a binge. It’s okay – it happens to all of us!
Try any of these instead…
- Give up one sweet thing a month, not all sugar all at once. After all, it was just last month you were treating yourself to holiday sweets. Trying to remove all added sugar from your diet right now may be too much. Learn to drink your morning coffee with milk only, for example. Then the following month cut out sugary sodas. In March, stop eating desserts. You get the idea.
- Swap out refined flour for whole grain options. Trade white or wheat toast for oatmeal in the mornings. Use quinoa in recipes that call for white rice.
- Add an extra vegetable to at least one meal per day. Spinach can go in a smoothie without changing the taste. Sliced peppers make a yummy, crunchy side with any sandwich.
Resolution Two: Go to the gym every day
Trying to do anything every single day is a tough resolution to keep. And if you’ve been sedentary you could end up doing more damage than good. Instead…
- If you really aren’t moving much at all, start getting an official workout – at the gym, on the walking path, or in front of the a TV with a workout video – three times a week.
- Then add a day of strength training OR balance OR flexibility, whichever you need most. It’s just one extra workout, after all.
- Move more. This could be a little vague, so focus on specific goals such as parking farther away, taking the stairs, or even just making sure you walk around the block twice a day.
Resolution Three: Be more mindful
While this popular goal may be clear enough for some people, if you like the sound of it but aren’t really sure what the heck “mindfulness” even is, it’s hard to get there. These will help…
- At the end of the day, write down three good things that happened that day. The point is to be aware of the good in your world.
- Aim for 30 minutes per week of meditation. It eases stress, boosts mood, and makes you healthier. You’ll find free instructional videos on YouTube.com.
- Find a yoga or tai chi class. This can even fit in with resolution two if you want it to. Either discipline is great for physical and mental wellbeing.
Make a resolution to keep your resolutions this year by making the right choices now.