By Dr. Hilary Booth
We’ve all been there – we start off the New Year with the best of intentions. We make a list of resolutions and swear up and down that this year will be different; we’re going to stick to our resolutions with gusto! Unfortunately, when the holiday spirit wears off most of us slip back into our old habits and our resolutions get shelved for another year. In this article I’m going to share my secrets for how to make New Year Resolutions that stick.
Make your goals achievable
Some things are easier said than done. When setting a goal it’s important to ask yourself is this a reasonable expectation? It’s easy to get carried away and make goals like “I’m going to learn six new languages in 2015”. Although that would be fantastic, it’s important to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re setting yourself up for success. Sometimes smaller, short-term goals are more motivating, like “I’m going to learn 10 phrases in French by the end of January”. You will end up achieving more in the long-run because you feel confident in your ability to achieve smaller goals.
Make your goals specific
Goals are often far too generalized. Goals like “I’m going to be happier in 2015” are great in theory, but in practice they are difficult to pin-down. To make your goals more specific, just ask yourself how will I do this? When we dig a little deeper, our goals start to take on more shape, like “I’m going to be happier in 2015 by taking more time for myself”. Again, I would encourage you to keep asking how, so that you can get even more specific, like “I’m going to be happier in 2015 by doing 30 minutes of yoga per day ”. The more specific we are, the more likely we are to take action, which ultimately achieves our original generalized goal.
Make your goals measurable
It’s important to be able to track your accomplishments to help you stay on course. To make your goals measurable, as yourself When will this be accomplished? and How will I know when I’ve reached my goal? Set a date that each goal should be accomplished by, and a way to measure it. For some goals it’s simple, “I will lose 10 pounds by February 1st”. For others, you may need to get more creative, such as using a rating scale from 1 to 10, or with lab testing from your ND.
When we measure our goals, it allows us to periodically re-evaluate our progress and make adjustments. It’s can be powerful to realize when something isn’t going as planned, because it allows us to step back and make changes so that we can have better success in the future.
Set up an accountability network
Being held accountable for your goals can be tough. However, research shows that it’s an effective way to make sure we follow through. If your goal is to go to the gym three times per week, try asking your partner or co-worker to hold you accountable at the end of each week. This can be uncomfortable if you’re not holding up your end of the bargain, but that’s the point! It’s often easier to let yourself slip than it is to let down someone else.
That being said, I also recommend that you set up ways to be held accountable to yourself. Setting reminders on your phone or writing down dates in your calendar can be extremely effective. It’s important to get into the habit of self-reflection, and holding yourself accountable for achieving your goals is a wonderful way to do so.
Use your Naturopathic Doctor
As Naturopathic Doctors, we are here to help you achieve your goals. We can help to develop your goal into a simple, step-by-step action plan to increase your success. We can use our tools and expertise to help you achieve your health goals with a personalized treatment plan. Regular visits are also a great way to check-in and be held accountable, and in some cases, we can measure your progress with lab testing.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to us that your New Year’s Resolutions are effective, achievable, and long-lasting. As Naturopathic Doctors, we can provide the support, tools, and accountability to set you up for success in the New Year.