When the New Year rings in, many of us are tempted to make New Year’s resolutions that will completely overhaul our lifestyles. Whether you’ve vowed to lose some weight or learn a new language, the problem is that most of us break these resolutions almost as soon as we make them. Why? Many people set such lofty goals, they soon become unrealistic and impractical. Making change is important, but doing it sustainably is even more important. We take some of the most popular resolutions and recommend how you can set achievable goals to keep you motivated and on track.
1. Weight Loss/Eating Healthy
This is by far the most popular New Year’s resolution. Most of us gain over the holidays , and a crash diet for a couple of weeks can get rid of those three to five pounds easily enough. However, if you really want to see results over a longer period of time and drop bigger numbers, we came up with pointers to give you the greatest outcome for success.
Get a Coach
Everyone needs support. If you want to lose a significant amount of weight (over 10 pounds, for example) look into hiring a specialist who can help you set and maintain realistic diet goals. A weight loss coach or nutritionist can keep you on track and motivate you. Long-term weight loss is a marathon. You need someone who stays with you the entire way. If you just can’t justify the expense, then find a local group of like-minded people, or even a group of your friends with similar goals. That way you can support each other through the tough times.
Get a Calorie Counting App
They’re cheap. They’re abundant. They’re easy to find. Look on iTunes or Google Play and start keeping track of what you eat every day to find out where you need to cut back. You can’t lose weight unless you really get smart about the calorie and fat content of what you’re eating.
Make Changes Gradually
Realistically, if you love fast food, running out to the local farmer’s market and stocking up on leafy greens right away is going to lead to frustration and a trashcan full of veggies. Make subtle changes to your diet by learning to cook one to two healthier meals per week. Encourage yourself to eat healthier versions of food you already like. If you love cheeseburgers, make your own turkey burgers with yam fries, for example. (You can get frozen yam fries at most markets.) Your palate will take time to adjust to foods that are lower in fat, sugar, and salt so set a realistic healthy food schedule every week so you eventually start to enjoy how eating healthy makes you feel.
2. Getting Fit
We know. You start out January with a bang, hitting the gym three to four times a week. By February, you’re down to two visits. In March, you’ve gone maybe twice that month…and so it goes. Fitness is a lifelong commitment and like anything else, you have to come back to it all the time if it’s going to make a difference in your life. We hope the steps below make this process easier.
Do Something You Like
If you hate the treadmill or the stationary bike, maybe it’s time to check out the exercise classes at the gym instead. Invest in some thermals and commit to a walking schedule even if you have to bundle up in the winter if you like the open sky. Give yourself time to find something you live. Commit yourself to trying out several different activities in a week. This process may not happen overnight.
Do a Little Every Day
15-20 minutes of moderate activity is better than no activity at all. In fact, moderate daily exercise is an excellent habit. Get a
workout mat or a yoga mat and a set of hand weights and set a time every day where you do some basics: sit ups, push ups, light yoga, Pilates, burpees, anything that will get you moving every day. Switch it up. On days when you’re extra tired, just do some stretching and light weights. Eventually, that mat will start calling to you every day.
Make Small Changes
How many times have you heard this: take the stairs instead of the elevator? There’s good reason for that. It’s good advice. Stand instead of sitting when you can. Find ways to run your errands on foot. Park further away from the store . Do ANYTHING you can that encourages small bursts of movements throughout the day.
3. Changing Careers
This is a toughie. At some point in life, most people discover that they need to make more money or just do something that’s more fulfilling. Swapping career paths gets more complicated the older you get, but that should never stop you.
Accept a Pay Cut
If you’re moving into an entirely new field, expect that it will come with a financial sacrifice. One of two things will happen: one, you will eventually catch up and surpass your old salary or, two, you won’t. Even if you have to confront the latter, you may still be happier in the long run. Determine how much of a financial hit you can take, make the necessary adjustments and live with it.
Make Small Changes Every Day
See a theme building? If you want to make one big change, the best way to go about it is to make tiny, incremental changes daily. Save small amounts of money every month so you have some liquidity when you take the plunge. If you want to start a business or find a new job, spend an hour every day that you stick to doing whatever research or steps you need to make it happen. Spend that hour on the phone with contacts, recruiters, potential employers and doing other networking to keep your job search active every day. Speaking of networking…
Network, Network, Network
That new career isn’t going to land in your lap. Join a professional networking group in the industry you want to join. Find out about local networking events in your area or in the area where you want a job so you can start to make new contacts. Take a class that helps you with any new skills you need to acquire for your dream gig. Look at it this way: you’re committing an hour a day which is seven hours per week or almost thirty per month. There’s plenty of time in there for you to meet people and contacts you can help you change jobs.
- Be Patient
- Be Consistent
- Try New Things
- Forgive Failure
- Track Your Achievements
- Ask for Help
- Keep a Schedule
- Reward Yourself
- Complete One Task at a Time
- Evaluate Your Progress
We’d love to hear from you in the comments about any other ideas you have for setting a Big Goal and how to make your own New Year’s resolutions sustainable!