Healthy Resolutions: Ways to make a resolution you want to keep!

It is commonly known that New Year’s resolutions are made to not keep!  Why is it so hard for us to follow through with a resolution we know will benefit our health, family or lifestyle?  The answer is because we set goals or resolutions without any kind of plan to get us there.  The following information is intended to be used as a guide to help you make a healthy New Year’s resolution.

Often a resolution may be ignored to avoid the feeling of failure.  Most resolutions include words like, “more”, “less”, “quit”, “better”, “improve”, “change” and “never”.  Just reading these words may increase anxiety.   Goals or resolutions are frequently made with the end result being emphasized.  For example, “I will lose 50 pounds”, “I will quit smoking” or “I will reduce my stress”.  These kinds of resolutions may quickly bring feelings of failure and affect your mood or emotions negatively.

Making a resolution that puts emphasis on the end result can also bring about procrastination.  If you have made it your New Year’s resolution to quit smoking, just finding the motivation to cut back may be incredibly difficult.  It’s not to say that you should not make that your resolution, but when you set these goals without smaller ones to lead you there, you may not even start the process.  To make a resolution that is reasonable and can be quickly accomplished, pick a task that is measurable.  Let’s say on an average day you smoke two cigarettes each hour.  Initially, your goal should be something like, “For the first two weeks, I will smoke just one cigarette every hour.”  Then, you can continue improving from there.

To start a new year, make a resolution that is exciting and motivational; one that you strive to complete each and every day!  When you are developing this resolution, think about incorporating small goals or attainable steps that can be quickly accomplished.  For example, if weight loss is your overall goal, make this part of your resolution: “I will go to the gym three days a week and walk for 45 minutes on the treadmill.”  This kind of goal is a personal challenge that is reachable and can be measured each week to see your progress.

Another important note when making your New Year’s resolution – continue to remind yourself of the ways this change will add to your life.  When you quit smoking, you significantly decrease your risk for cancer and heart disease.  When you lose weight, you reduce your chances of developing diabetes and are able to live a more active lifestyle.  Having a clear idea of what the long-term benefits will be when you follow through with your resolution is a big incentive.  Also, knowing exactly why you have made your resolution is important.  Make sure you have decided on these goals because YOU want to make this change for a healthier life.

What kind of resolution will be fun, supportive, challenging and healthy to your life this year?

*This was written in collaboration with Lori Hanson, Administrator of Divine Hope Counseling.  Thanks, Lori! Berapaserre .