Do you have trouble sticking to your New Years Resolutions? Many people do and there are some reasons why. One of the reasons is that your goals are too high to reach, or too difficult to maintain. This only sets you up for failure. Another reason is that someone else wants you to change, but you really don’t want to. Or perhaps you don’t have a plan to move forward.
Tips To Turn Your Resolutions Into Habits
Best time of day to work on behavior change
Research shows that if you do your new routine in the morning, you are more likely to stick with it. You may wonder why, especially if you aren’t a morning person. A study was done that was published in Health Psychology. The study had some people start a stretching routine. Half of the group was told to do it in the morning, the other half were told to do it right before bed. The greatest progress was seen in the group that did it first thing in the morning.
According to the researchers, it is supposedly easier to make something a habit, as cortisol levels are highest in the morning. At this time of day, it is harder to learn new information, which may help it better stay in your memory.
Tips for behavior change
The Houstson Chronicle also had a great article yesterday on making resolutions for the New Year that you can adhere to.
Choose goals that are easily achievable
Is there something that is relatively easy for you to do? Is there something that won’t take all that much time, maybe just a few minutes? Start small. When you make small changes, it makes you feel good about yourself. And that good feeling is likely to continue as you make your new behavior a habit. Once you have achieved one small goal, perhaps you can add another.
Make it more enjoyable
Many people find it more fun to have a friend with them when possible. Perhaps if you decide you want to walk as your goal, it may be easier to do if you get to visit with your friend while doing so. If fitness is your goal, you could join a team, or take dance, tennis or swim lessons. Go hiking with a friend. Maybe you want to learn to play a musical instrument, you could also sign up for lessons. If you want to eat healthier, how about having family members find recipes on line that they’d like to try. Of course you can try things you like too.
Do something that will make your life easier
You might first want to ask yourself what you like doing the least. So if it’s cooking, could someone else help out? Could you get some type of meal service delivery. Can you purchase prepaid meals. If you want to eat healthier, is there some appliance or cookware that can make it easier? If its cleaning, can you hire someone to clean every other week? This may allow you extra time to do the things that you want to do to improve you.
Do things in moderation
Eating better, exercising, cutting down on alcohol might be some common goals. Don’t set your goals as only eating healthy, exercising every day or stopping drinking (unless you have tried to stop in the past and have trouble cutting down-you may have a problem with alcohol). These goals are extremely difficult to accomplish. If you deny yourself a specific food, you will crave it and may be more likely to binge on it. For example, if you love chocolate, allow yourself a small amount every day. This way you can have what you love and still eat healthy. With exercise, how about starting out with 2-3 days per week, and starting out with a small workout, say 15 minutes. You will feel better about yourself for accomplishing your goal. Enjoy alcohol in moderation. Set a limit for yourself – say 2 drinks.
These are just a few suggestions. Remember, if you aren’t able to stick with your resolutions, ask yourself if you can do it in a smaller amount, just to feel that you have some success. If not, ask yourself how much you really want the change. If you do want to change and are having challenges, what would be helpful? Is there a friend or family member you can call to help you stay on track?
If you have some serious struggles with change, therapy can help. Give me a call at 713-304-6554 and we can set up a plan to help you get where you want to be.
Take care and Happy New Year!