By Susan Yara, Glamour
Raise your hand if you've made a New Year's resolution and failed to stick with it a month -- maybe even a week -- into it. No shame! We've all done it. And though we know the routine, there's a big chance we'll still set goals for 2016. After all, "a new year is the perfect opportunity to muster up the courage to face change with a curious mind and open heart," says expert interventionist and founder of Breath Life Healing Centers Brad Lamm. The good news is, you can make your New Year's resolution work. You just need the right tips. That's why we reached out to experts like Lamm, along with registered dietitian and exercise physiologist Felicia Stoler DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM, and founder of YG Studios Nt Etuk for guidance.
Set a realistic goal.
We often set high expectations for ourselves when we make resolutions, which is the main reason we don't stick with them. That's why your best option is to take baby steps. Stoler says, "The challenge with resolutions for the new year are: they are often unrealistic, sometimes they are unattainable, and in theory they are about behavior change, but often most people lack an action plan that works."
For example, if you're trying to lose weight, she says make small changes like, "Drink more water; move more and when it comes to food--eat more fiber! Another tip is to chew your food. Yes, get rid of the shakes and chew."
And if you're considering more than one resolution for the new year, Lamm says, "Keep it simple. Instead of overwhelming yourself with all of the things you want to change, pick one or two and focus on those first."
Don't quit if you have a minor setback
"Failing to follow through on our resolutions usually happens when we operate under an 'all or nothing' mindset," says Lamm. "If you find yourself experiencing a resolution relapse, don't allow that to become an excuse to give up. Instead, expand your definition of success as forward progress, rather than perfection. When you feel like you are beginning to fail at your resolution, remind yourself that you don't need to be perfect or perfectly extraordinary, just a better version of you. We often don't experience change without first experiencing setbacks in the process. Struggling along the way doesn't mean your resolutions are dead. They are just waiting to be revived."
Build a support group
Yes, a workout buddy can help motivate you to hit the gym, but the same concept extends to any of your resolutions. Etuk says, "No person is an island, and no one gets where they want to be personally or professionally alone. We all need help, so build a team of partners around you who remind you of where and who you want to be."
And if you're trying to overcome an additive behavior like smoking or drinking, Lamm says, "Don't be afraid to reach out for professional help. Learning how to properly detox from a doctor or other health care professionals makes you seven times more likely to succeed."
Etuk says, "Have a sense of when you want a milestone accomplished and let that drive you to catch up when you lag behind. Without measurement, you don't know how far you've come or how much further you have to go. More importantly, you have no way of knowing when to celebrate the small successes!"
Associate an emotion with success or failure
Emotions can play a huge role in your achievements. That's why Etuk says, "To create lasting change, you want to practice associating a positive emotion with a positive outcome, and a negative emotion with a negative outcome. For example, to effectively lose weight, associate pain with eating that extra bite, and pleasure with having the discipline to put that extra bite of dessert down."
Make it fun!
Probably the most important tip to achieve your goals is to find the fun it. Etuk says, "Achieving your goals can't be work. If that's all it is, you will fail. Work is a chore. Find the joy in the process or you will be miserable."
Photos: John Aquino/Footwear News
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