-By Brett Qualls, PT, DPT, OCS
We are now a week into the year 2019. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? If you are like most people, your enthusiasm for your resolutions is probably starting to lose some of its shine. While I do not generally need a calendar holiday to make myself accountable for changing things up, many turn to January 1st as a catalyst for creating a life change or breaking a bad habit. Change is a good thing. The only real trick is to keep your resolve and stick to your guns about your resolutions! In other words, it is all about your follow through.
As with most good things in life, it takes some work and dedication to stick with your resolutions. There are certainly several things that you can do to increase your likelihood of keeping up your New Year’s resolutions until the calendar rolls around to 2018!
Enlist your friends
Misery loves company! On a more serious note, having a friend join you in your quest for meaningful change is a great a idea. This immediately creates accountability for both of you. Having another person to keep you honest will drastically increase your chances for success. This is especially true if your resolution involves exercise. We find that people are more likely to go on their walk or to the gym if they have a friend to go along with them. Having a friend onboard also gives you a confidant to talk through the trials and tribulations of your new venture.
Be realistic with yourself
Being ambitious can be a good thing, but you should not beat yourself up if you are unable to achieve an unrealistic change. Now might be the perfect time to re-evaluate your resolution. It is ok to consider your original New Year’s resolution as a first draft, one that maybe just needs some revisions. If your original resolution was too lofty to be realistic, it is ok to make a few changes for yourself. To have achieved half of your original goal is definitely better than just scrapping the whole thing by February!
Make your resolution more specific
It can be really hard to achieve any kind of goal if you are being too vague about what the goal looks like. Goals like “be healthy”, “exercise more”, and “eat better” really leave far too much to the imagination. You may need to rework your goal and be specific about how you will execute it. Instead of “exercise more”, it would be better to make a goal to go on a 20 minute walk three times per week. Goals do not have to be elaborate, but your chances for success are much higher if you can make your goal as specific as possible.
There are many smartphone based applications (aka phone “apps”) that can really help you to stay true to your goals. Record keeping is something that many people struggle with, but is one great way to increase your success rate with keeping resolutions. There are many apps that will allow you to easily track your benchmarks and your progress. You can also use your phone or apps to create reminders for yourself. You will be more likely to go on your daily walk if your phone reminds you that it is “Walk time!” at 5:30 PM every day!
Another big thing to remember: New Year’s resolutions are really supposed to be fun! Hopefully you set a goal for yourself that will allow you to improve your health, kick a bad habit, or spend more time doing the things that you love. If you feel like you have kind of fallen off of the wagon with your resolutions, now is that time to get yourself back into gear!!
*Copyright Havasu Living Magazine