Written by Lisa Malin
January is finally here, and with it a flurry of New Year’s resolutions, big and small.
We want to:
- Lose weight
- Declutter our homes
- Get fit
- Spend quality time with friends + family
- Find our dream job
We’re filled with optimism, yearning for positive change, and excited to get started.
But by Valentine’s Day, nearly 80% of us abandon our bright, shiny resolutions and return, heads held low to old habits and stale ways of operating.
What can we do better in 2019? How can we stack the odds in our favor, and increase our chances of creating the life we want?
Here are some helpful tips that may just carry you over the finish line, and put you in the company of the 8% of people who reach and maintain their stated resolutions:
- Plan ahead and think about how you will achieve your goals. Like any destination, reaching goals requires a roadmap. Saying you want to eat more meatless meals is one thing; knowing how to do it in a way that’s healthy, satisfying, and actionable is another.Stocking your fridge and kitchen with plant-based ingredients and pantry staples, along with researching what it means to put together a nourishing plant-focused meals, sets you up for success. Planning keeps stress, frustration, feelings of deprivation and, in this case, hunger at bay, making it far more likely you’ll stick to your goals and press on.
- Make resolutions that are realistic and achievable, instead of lofty and open-ended. Rather than setting the goal to declutter your life, set the discrete, achievable goal to clean out your mudroom or kitchen cabinets. Small wins increase confidence and motivation, leading to more wins down the line. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Share your resolutions with a trusted family member, friend, therapist or wellness coach. The goal here is to pick someone who truly has your back, and wants the best for you. Frenemies need not apply! Research shows goals are easier to achieve when we open up, and discuss them with others. It gives your goal weight, and builds in accountability and support. Yep, it really does take a village!
- Create some wiggle room for slip ups. If resolutions are too rigid – like eliminating entire food groups overnight or ditching alcohol when you’ve been enjoying two glasses of wine with dinner for as long as you can remember - you’re more likely to back-slide, feel discouraged, and lose motivation. Bad days and bad decisions happen. Knowing you can pivot and reset your intentions is powerful. Each day, each meal, each interaction, each moment is an invitation to reboot and move the needle forward.
- Create goals that really resonate with you! This one’s big! If you don’t feel hyper connected to your New Year’s resolution, likelihood is it’s not going to take. Think about it. Going vegan for a partner is far less likely to stick than going vegan because it’s something you deeply believe in and want for yourself.
The last bit of inspiration I’ll leave you with is this: Measurable, lasting change takes time, patience, and persistence. Habits aren’t broken and seamlessly replaced with new, upgraded behaviors in 21 days, even if self-help books lead us to believe they do.
So, be gentle with yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Remind yourself why you made the resolution in the first place, and then tell yourself you are capable and worthy of ALL the good things that will come from following through on your New Year’s promise.