If you’re like many Americans, the start of the new year brings along a new sense of self. You’re going to correct those lazy eating habits, spend a little more time in the gym, and lose 50 pounds by March. Sound familiar?
According to a recent study, about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, and less than half (46%) are still on target six months later. It’s hard to keep up that enthusiasm as you’re thrust into the new year, but below are three simple steps to help you make those new health goals into year-long habits.
Revamp your resolutions
Effective goal setting is an extremely valuable aspect in making your resolutions stick. To do that, make sure they’re SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).
Don’t: I’m going to lose weight.
Do: I’m going to lose 1-2 pounds per week for the next three months for a weight loss total of 15 pounds.
Don’t: I want to eat healthier.
Do: I will slowly increase my intake of fruits and vegetables over the next two months to 4.5 cups total per day.
Setting realistic, timely goals makes them seem more manageable and will lead to a higher success rate.
Know your motivation
In order to make your goals into habits, you have to know why you are making this goal. What will you accomplish by attaining your goal? Having a clear reason for setting and achieving your goal will increase the likelihood of reaching your goals.
Take a few moments to imagine what life might be like after you succeed (i.e., what will be easier? What will be harder? Will I feel better? Will I be able to enjoy life more fully?). Keep a reminder of this somewhere you can easily see it to help keep you motivated while on your journey.
Following suit with step one, starting small will keep you from overwhelming yourself by trying to make too many changes all at once.
Start slowly and incorporate your healthy changes slowly. Even if this means scaling back your original goals to make them more sustainable, do it.
Creating new habits is a long process, but it can be made easier by following the steps listed above. Start the new year off by starting small and setting your SMART goals to help you make your new year’s health goals year-long habits.