With every New Year, people make promises to themselves like eating healthier and getting more exercise. More often than not, those resolutions fall by the wayside by the time February rolls around.
The big question is, how do we keep our resolutions throughout the New Year? How do we make that promise become a lifestyle change for the better?
A professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. David Spiegel, states in an article by Humana, that it's as easy if you keep the following things in mind:
Understand that changing is hard to do. In an article written by Raina Kelley for Newsweek in early 2010, Dr. Spiegel points out that we've "built communities that set up reinforcement of bad behavior." Simply put, it's easier to be bad. Fast food is easily available and it's easier to take the elevator than the stairs. It's a simple fact. But when you admit to yourself that the extra weight you might be carrying around could make life harder for you down the road, walking from the back of the parking lot might not be such a bad option.
Make your resolutions positive.Rather than tell yourself, "I won't eat pizza," make your resolutions about what you will do. "I'm going to find healthy food I like." Making your resolutions positive keeps you from focusing on that pizza as something you can't have. Instead, it helps you find other choices to take its place.
Keep your resolutions simple.In other words, don't bite off more than you can chew. Sure, you can tell yourself you'll go to the gym every day, but is that realistic? Instead, plan to go to the gym twice a week to start. If it becomes fun, make it more often. Instead of losing 50 pounds, try losing a pound a week. Getting back on track is much easier when your resolution is simple, and if you break it, just get back up and go at it again.
Stay positive.Work on your resolution with people who will stay positive too. Frustration is a big part of why resolutions don't work. If you miss a workout, or you slip up and eat pizza, don't beat yourself up over it. Stay positive! And find a friend who will pick you up and get you going. You can do the same for him or her and work on your resolutions together.
New Year's resolutions are hard to keep, and so is keeping the positive momentum to fuel and motivate you. It is important to reflect on the positive outcomes you've already seen or plan to see through the changes you are implementing. If you lost five pounds, first of all - awesome job! Secondly, think about what this means for your health now and moving forward. And thirdly, hello skinny jeans! .
Lastly, I want to say before I leave you that although it is good to have goals for improving yourself, it is perhaps even more important to acknowledge that you don't need to change. Just out of pure observation and my own experience, I think many of us (including myself) should make it a goal to love ourselves and our bodies a little more and to remember that we are all human. We should be living up to and doing what makes us, as individuals, happy and not conforming to society and impossible societal standards that media has drilled into our brains. Maybe this year, more of us should shoot for accepting ourselves and appreciating what we can do and what our bodies can do for us right now.