The start of a new year is a time of reflection on the previous year and the positive changes you can make for the year ahead. Many people use the new year as an excuse to set lofty goals of self improvement. You’ve heard the ambitious wellness resolutions: going to the gym every day, eating more fruits and vegetables, ditching take-out, cutting out sweets. Maybe you’ve even made some of these vows.
Unfortunately, most New Year’s resolutions fail. Do you know why? Because the goals are unattainable.
If you haven’t set foot in a gym for the past five years, is it truly realistic that you’ll suddenly find time for working out every day?
And the first time you miss your goal, you give it up as a failure.
This isn’t to say setting healthy goals – or even making New Year’s resolutions – is a lost cause. It is never a bad thing to work toward positive change.
The key to making a change stick is to set realistic goals. Start slowly. If you want to exercise more, set a more achievable goal, such as going to the gym twice a week. Instead of cooking every meal at home, try making dinner at home once a week. Instead of completely cutting out sweets, limit yourself to a small dessert.
As your small changes become habit, you can increase your goal. Add a third day to your gym routine. Bring your lunch to work twice a week. Swap that bowl of ice cream for a square or two of really good chocolate.
Change is never easy, especially when you don’t see huge results right away. Give yourself time. Check back in after two months to see whether you’re still sticking with your plan. You just might be surprised.