Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when many of us make resolutions. There’s no denying that making – and keeping – resolutions is difficult.
It takes courage to let go of the safe and familiar in order to try something new, but I encourage you to take that first step in the direction of something new and different. If you take that chance, there is the potential for amazing possibilities, excitement, and immense pride when you accomplish something you didn’t believe was possible.
I’ve taken that new path for myself, trying new adventures and meeting new people and have felt happier and healthier as a result. As 2018 begins, here are five simple steps for achieving any goal you are considering:
Set Your Intentions
Be specific, write them down, and share them with others. Post them in places where you will remind yourself on a daily basis what you are working towards. For me, it works best to put mine on my bathroom mirror and read them as I brush my teeth. Write out WHY you want to reach your goals. This is important. The more compelling the ‘WHY,’ the more likely you are going to keep going even when it becomes more difficult than you expected. Figure out what motivates you. Would posting them on the bathroom mirror work for you, or would making a vision board help? How about keeping a gratitude journal? What do you need to do to help keep you focused?
Know Any Goal Worth Achieving Takes Work
As wonderful as it sounds, there is no magic pill or potion to lose weight, so here’s my dose of tough love: Dreaming about crossing the finish line will not get you there unless you put in the work on a daily basis. Merely talking about how bad you feel, how tired you are, or how unhappy you are with your body and the current state of health will not change anything. Taking small steps every day and creating new habits will get you the health and energy you want. Consider cooking on the weekend with the intention to have enough meals for work lunches; drinking a glass of water before and after each meal or going for a 10-minute walk during your lunch break. You want results and get discouraged and quit when you don’t see them. But if you are tired of starting over, you have to quit quitting and start doing. Change will take work and time.
Schedule your healthy “to do” tasks on your calendar. If it isn’t on your calendar, it usually doesn’t happen, right? It takes regularity to create a new habit, so make it part of your routine day after day, and it will quickly take hold.
Here’s a good motto to keep in mind in those early tough days of making changes: Small, smart choices practiced consistently with time equals goals being achieved. It can be done! Be patient with yourself. Also, find some way to track, acknowledge and reward your progress. Consider treating yourself to a new inspirational spiral planner with a goal tracker (check out your local craft store where you will frequently find them on sale this time of year), and individualizing it for your needs, dreams and plans.
Be grateful for what you do have and what you can do.
On your journey to better health and well-being, take time every day to state at least one thing you are grateful for. At the end of the day, I like to say thank you for three things that happened during the day. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of always wanting more, and while wanting to better yourself can be a good thing, it is important to appreciate and love what you do have. Find gratitude in the little things every day. Here are two quotes I find particularly motivating:
“You won’t be happy with more until you’re happy with what you’ve got.” – Viki King
“If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
Help Others Reach Their Goals
This may seem different than any other advice you have heard regarding your New Year resolutions, but there is so much power in this. First, implement steps 1 – 3 and repeat. After your intentions have been set, you are willing to do the work, and you express daily gratitude – then it is time to step outside yourself and see who else you can help.
We are all looking for something from life, and believe it or not, it is not the same thing. We may want similar things, but we each have unique goals and individualized motivation behind our goals. If you make the time to help someone else reach their goals, it is almost guaranteed that somewhere along the way someone else will help you reach your goals. Part of paying it forward is making the world a better place; step outside yourself and your problems to help someone else in need. If you don’t like the world and the direction it’s going, don’t wait for someone else to change it. Follow the old adage of “Be the change you want to see.” In other words, instead of saying “Someone should do something about that,” be that someone who gets the ball rolling and does something.
Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you and want to see you succeed.
What this idea generally means is this: You can’t soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys. Step away from the “naysayers” – the people who disparage your dreams and sabotage your new healthy habits and weight loss efforts.
If these people are really close to you (a spouse or parent, for example) then have an honest talk with them. This may be where you need to go back to #4 – see where you can help them reach their goals. Become your own biggest fan. Write down the good in you, write down what makes you unique and special. Know that you deserve to reach your goals and feel your best. Believe you can do whatever you put your mind to. Here’s a tip that helps me with the mindset: If I’m having a bad day, I go to my “I am” list. The list includes reminder slogans such as “I am healthy,” or “I am strong,” or “I am talented.”
I could go on and on. That’s how passionate I am about health and lifestyle as medicine. I want people to be the best, healthiest, most energetic versions of themselves they can be -- living the lives they dream without pills, waiting in the doctor’s office or lying in a hospital bed. I wish you the best as you embark on your newest journey of a New Year.