It's 2018! Another New Year which means a lot of people will try to turn over a new leaf and start some healthier habits. New year, new you, right? Whatever your resolution may be - drink more water, eat more fruits and veggies or less meat, lose weight, etc. - there are some ways you can make your efforts more successful.
1. Write down your resolution(s.)
There are many ways to do this. Make a note in your phone, write it out pen to paper, or type it up on your computer. The important thing is actually taking the effort to write down those new habits you want to make, and even better, why you want to make those changes. What will this new habit do to enrich your life? When you see something written down like that it makes it more tangible and easier to visualize. If it ever gets tough on you to continue, you can look back on this list and remember why you started, so make sure you save what you've written down and keep it handy for when you need extra motivation.
2. Use the buddy system.
Everything is easier with a friend! Most likely you know someone that is interested in making the same change you are. For example, if you both want to drink more water, you challenge yourselves to drink certain amounts at certain times and keep the same water drinking schedule. It's more fun if you have someone alongside you with the same goal plus when you want to give up on it, they can help you keep going, and vice versa.
3. Split your resolution into smaller, more doable tasks.
A task can seem very daunting when you're confronting it all at once. Instead of giving yourself a strict deadline to make something happen, it can be easier to break down your overall goal into smaller tasks with manageable deadlines. This can be done with most resolutions if you're okay with doing things gradually - instead of focusing on an ambitious weight loss goal for the entire year, focus on smaller increments of weight loss that adds up to that goal, or instead of becoming vegan overnight, slowly become vegetarian and then eliminating all animal products one thing at a time until you're completely vegan.
4. Don't be too hard on yourself.
Mistakes happen. Plateaus happen. Most changes we make in life don't occur comfortably or easily, but the way over-used phrase still rings true - change happens outside of your comfort zone. If you find yourself stuck or making mistakes assess what you can do to improve your current situation and keep progressing. Remember that progress is the most important thing when making a lifestyle change, even if it's really slow for a time.
5. Reward yourself (but only when you're completely sticking to it.)
The reward doesn't have to be anything big. It could be a cheat meal, a celebratory beer, or a pair of workout leggings you've been wanting. Just make sure you earned that reward - you don't want to reward bad behavior, so if you haven't been sticking to the plan 100% you don't need to be rewarded. Also make sure you don't totally derail yourself. One reward shouldn't turn into a week or month-long event.
Don't forget, it can take up to two months for a new practice to become automatic - click here for more on that - so it takes a lot of time, effort, practice, and maybe even a few mistakes to make your resolution a new habit. Just stay on track and persevere and you'll be on your way to making 2018 your healthiest year yet!