Despite our good intentions, positive habits can be tough to commit to – but every New Year, we’re infused with a new sense of optimism as we look towards the future. Here are seven strategies to help you keep your lifestyle goals in 2013.
Set realistic goals
If you wanted to climb Mount Everest, would you start out with no training? If you did, you’d definitely fail. It’s best to be realistic, and set a series of short-term goals to prepare yourself for the demands of mountain climbing. If you're deliberate and strategic, you can consistently and methodically inch towards a successful outcome.
List your goals
Research demonstrates that if you write your goals in a journal, you’re more likely to achieve them. Read them aloud twice per day – once in the morning, and once more before going to sleep. This will help keep your resolutions fresh in your mind. They’ll become a daily priority, and it won’t be long before you find yourself completely dedicated to success!
Visualize your success
Picture yourself achieving your goal – wearing the size that makes you look your best, deciding to abandon a vice like smoking, or fine-tuning your home or office environment. Hold onto a mental image of how much better your life will be as you gradually achieve your objective.
Enlist your friends
Share your goals with friends and family – it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable. If your intention is to lose 20 pounds, let your friends know that future get-togethers will involve healthy alternatives to cookies, pies and cakes. If your goal is to get fit, recruit a workout or walking partner. You’ll have someone to share in the successes that you’ll both achieve with regular exercise.
Reward can be a powerful motivator! Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a daily run or fall off the ‘no-cookies’ bandwagon. Instead, allow yourself to celebrate each success you encounter. If you would enjoy nothing more than a day at the spa, mark a spa-day on the calendar every two months – and use these events as milestones toward achieving your ultimate goal.
Acknowledge your mistakes
Don’t give up. Instead, grab your journal and enter the date and circumstances that led up to your setback – then get yourself back on track and continue onwards!
Change your environment
If your goal is to give up cigarettes, and you live in a non-smoking environment such as a retirement residence or nursing home – then you must abandon some of your regular hang outs. Say goodbye to the crowd in the smoking lounge, and say hello to the fitness center, nearby parks and outdoor recreational facilities, and the local library.
Any of us can make positive changes at any time of year, so long as we acknowledge that the need for change is essential. By visualizing ourselves attaining each goal, our strategies for success will never be far from our thoughts.
Written by Alice Lucette
Image by ba1969 of stock.xchng