Here are some New Year’s Resolutions from our Facebook followers:
“Train to powerwalk 15-minute miles for the Boston Marathon to raise money for the US Pain Foundation.” – Lynn
“Go to physical therapy, yoga for disabled, aqua therapy, and anything to help me live a better quality life!” – Joy
“Stay healthy and pain free!” – Tom
Sound familiar? Many people use the New Year as an opportunity to make a fresh start and focus on feeling better. The tricky part is sticking with your resolutions, instead of settling back into old patterns. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:
1. Choose a Specific, Realistic Goal
Every year, millions of adults resolve to “lose weight” or “get in shape.” Instead of such general goals, focus on something more concrete, like losing 10 pounds or finishing a 10k.
2. Take Time to Plan
Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal. Experts suggest that you should spend some time planning out how you will tackle a major behavior change. You can start by writing down your goal; making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way.
3. Start with Small Steps
Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.
4. Avoid Repeating Past Failures
Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s resolution is to not make the exact same resolution year after year. If you’ve already tried and failed, your self-belief will be low and you’ll be less likely to accomplish your goal.
5. Remember That Change Is a Process
Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days, weeks, or months? It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish.
6. Get Support from Friends and Family
Yes, you’ve probably heard this advice a million times, but that is because the buddy system actually works. Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal.
7. Record Your Progress
Consider keeping a resolution journal, where you can write about your successes and struggles. Write down the reasons why you are working toward your goal so that you can refer to them during times when you feel uninspired and unmotivated. By sticking with it and working on your goal all year long, you can be one of the few able to say that you really did keep your New Year’s resolution.
Adapted from About.com Psychology.