By Jenna Fields & Julie Pollard
1. Be kind to yourself
Did you fall off the wagon a little bit? Don't fret! There is always time to start new or create a fresh habit. We often get caught in a cycle of guilt over what we did or did not do over the holidays. The truth is, nothing in nature grows in a perfectly straight line. It is okay to sway a little from your goals. What's important is taking a moment to realign your behaviors with your intentions.
A simple way to do this is to write down your goals. Write them on a note card, in a journal, or put them on sticky note. Place your goals in a place you see often to remind you!
You can always start new goals! January 1st is not the only day of the year that you can make a new goal for yourself. Let’s say a couple of weeks go by and you feel like you are not where you want to be, do not get discouraged! You are the captain of your own ship and over the time of year you do change! Modify your goals with yourself to help you stick with them. Don’t be hard on yourself, if you want to change your goals, do it! Learn from your body, work with your body, and love your body and it will love you back!
2. Link your new habit to an old one
It can be much easier to stick to a new routine if you tie it into an existing one. We talked about this a little in an earlier blog, but it’s much easier to build upon the habits you hold today compared to completely changing your ways! For instance, if you find yourself sitting on a couch to watch TV each night, and your goal is to “get in shape,” you could do sit ups or walk around during commercials. If you find yourself eating dessert after meals, you could swap your sweets, try a parfait instead of lava cake!
3. Baby Steps
If you want to stick to your goals all year long, don’t jump in all at once! Those new year's resolutions to go vegan, run every day, or drink 4 liters of water a day are all very attainable if taken in baby steps. Studies have shown that it takes anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to create a new habit. If you want to be doing all of these resolutions by the end of the year, maybe start with less advanced forms of your final goal, for example eat at least 1 vegetarian meal a day, go for jogs 2 to 3 times a week, or drink a glass of water in the morning or night.
4. Stay Realistic
In setting goals for yourself, be realistic in reaching for what you can accomplish. If you set a realistic goal and reach it, then you will be much more inclined to set a new goal for yourself. Accomplishing these smaller “realistic goals” will build upon themselves and carry you to places you never thought you would be!
Julie is the program director and head personal trainer at Ageless Fitness. She focuses on wellness and health education with her clients and encourages the process of creating programs to be individual and informative.