5 Recommendations for a Healthy New Year
By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach
Is it just me, or does it seem like the years fly by faster and faster each year? Sometimes I can't believe how fast time goes by, and this year is no exception with 2020 being the strangest year I’ve yet to experience. Usually, we get wrapped up in our schedules, and before we know it, we're making holiday plans again with our loved ones. This year our schedules have been very different than typical, but I find myself wondering how it’s the holiday season already when it seems like March, when our lives seemed to come to screeching halt, wasn’t very long ago!
As the holidays roll around, we often turn our attention to New Year's Resolutions. We proudly proclaim them at the beginning of each year with the best of intentions. We really do mean to accomplish them, but nearly all of them fall flat before Spring even hits.
There are many reasons why this happens. To stick with your resolutions, you’ve got to be realistic about your goals. Here are some tips for creating resolutions you’ll actually keep so that when New Year’s rolls around again next year, you can try making a new resolution instead of the same ones year after year.
1. Set up a reward.
Whatever you’ve decided, be it weight loss, a new exercise routine, quitting smoking, or even all of the above, you’re more likely to make a positive change in your behavior if you have a reward waiting down the line. I often tell clients who are trying to quit smoking to set aside all the money they would have otherwise spent on cigarettes and then do something really special for themselves after the year of being smoke-free. People are often blown away when they realize how much money they are wasting on a habit that isn’t serving them well. Make your goals manageable, also. Saying that you just want to lose weight has no direction which is why this goal always fizzles out. Make checkpoints along the way if you're going to see those results, and make those rewards unrelated to food.
2. Pair up with your pals.
Getting together with friends (even if it has to be virtual for now) to better yourselves is an excellent way to build up your new good habits. Whether it’s taking a class together at the gym or learning a new craft like painting or pottery, teaming up with your friends will make it much more likely you won’t give up on your goals.
3. Keep a written record.
Writing down your resolutions makes it more front and center in your mind. In fact, starting a journal around your resolutions is highly recommended. You can write what you’ve done each day to get to that goal. If your goal is weight loss, set up some weekly check-ins with weight and/or measurements and be sure to record them so you can see your progress on paper as the weeks go by. If those aren’t going as quickly as you would like, remember that as you build muscle mass and lose fat, your scale may not move at the rate you would like, but your clothes will start feeling more lose fitting!
4. Dissect your resolutions into tangible goals
If you’re serious about achieving your resolutions, before the virtual ball drops, write out your resolutions. Then, dissect them into what you’re going to do to get there. A road map, so to speak, will always get you from point A to point B the most efficiently. So, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, write down what you’re going to do to get there on a daily basis. You can commit to 15 minutes of exercise per day to start, and then increase it at a checkpoint. You can also commit to swapping out some unhealthy items from your diet every week. Doing it this way will help you make the changes you want to see.
5. Share your resolutions
If you really want to succeed, tell your friends and family about your resolutions before New Year’s Eve. You will find much support, and possibly teammates, to take along for the journey.
Don’t let another year of unresolved resolutions fly by. Make 2021 your year; it’s entirely within your reach. What are you excited about for the new year? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.