Some of the best advice I have ever heard was “It takes 14 days to make a habit, good or bad.” How relevant this is at the start of a new year when so many of us are trying our best to keep our resolutions. I think January starts out as “Power Month” for resolutions because we are amped, excited, stoked to be making positive changes in our lives. For me, the “newness” wears off after about a week, and I wonder what I was thinking setting such lofty goals. Throughout the years I have discovered little ways to meet my goals and keep my resolutions. So regardless of whether your resolution is to get fit, learn a new skill, add something to your life or remove something from your life, here are six quick tips to help along the way.
Write your resolutions down. Put them somewhere prominent where you will see them every day. Maybe on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator? It will help you “keep your eye on the prize.”
Share your resolutions. Let your family and friends know what you are working on and ask for their support. I happen to be married to one of those lucky men who can eat anything he wants and as much as he wants and he never gain an ounce. If I think about a cookie I gain weight. I let my husband know that I want to work on my eating habits so there will be more chicken in our diet and less junk food in the house and that I need him to help me by not suggesting that we have buttery popcorn while watching TV.
Have an accountability buddy. Like the majority of us, most of my resolutions are related to fitness. My resolution is to work out six days a week. I also have a friend that shares the same goal. We keep each other in check with quick texts when we complete our workouts. This helps on days when I don’t want to pull my sneakers on, but I know my friend has already done her workouts so I better get hopping so I don’t let her down!
Be realistic. Don’t expect to quit caffeine cold turkey in a day, master a foreign language in a month or lose 20 pounds in a week. If you set realistic, achievable goals you actually have a higher chance of succeeding because they will seem attainable.
Set benchmarks. If your resolution is a big one, set some benchmarks for yourself and keep track of your progress. If you aren’t meeting your goals, it is time to reevaluate and re-strategize so that you don’t get discouraged and give up.
Pat yourself on the back. When the light at the end of the tunnel seems soooooooo far away, keep yourself motivated by celebrating even small successes as you reach your mini milestones! Your treat doesn’t have to be elaborate; it just has to make you feel rewarded. Think things like a pedicure, a copy of that book you have been wanting or even hiring a babysitter to have a night out on the town!
Remember that earlier tidbit of advice I shared. The first 14 days of starting a new habit are the hardest. So give it your all for those two weeks and, before you know it, your resolutions will be second nature! Good luck! You got this! Here is to an even better YOU in 2013!