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Setting and Succeeding with New Year's Resolutions

man standing on rock looking at sunset

Happy New Year! 

The beginning of a new year is often a time for setting our sights on new possibilities. 

But unfortunately once motivation wanes, sticking with their new commitments gets hard, or simply just once the “winter blues'' set in, most have almost given up completely on their resolutions. Let's visit some solutions to keep you or get you back on track. Before even getting started on WHAT you’re going to change or accomplish, it’s important to get very clear on WHY you want to make these improvements and what the value would be in being successful. You can start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What's your why? What is your reason behind wanting to make improvements in your life?  And once you have that answer, ask yourself again - why? Continuing to press for deeper and deeper meaning will bring you to your truest intentions.  That will help clarify where you need to focus your attention. 
  2. What are your core values and do they align with the life you're currently living? Would other people say that those are what your values are? How can you specifically design your resolutions to be aligned with your living/exhibiting to the world your most important values?
  3. Did you bite off more than you could chew sustainably? It’s easy when January 1 rolls around to think “Starting today, I’ll cut out XYZ from my diet, this is the year, I swear!” Well, what we know is that that type of “all or nothing thinking” rarely ends successfully.  Furthermore, when you eventually give in to the forbidden fare, you feel like a failure and then most give up at that point completely.  In reality, a lifestyle that balances ALL enjoyable foods is the most nourishing and sustainable.   
  4. Do you have a plan? The best thing you can do when getting started is to set your sights on your vision for the future, then break that vision down into habits and actions that will get you there.  Then start small, very small, and build up from there. 
  5. Do you have a backup plan? Now that you have your wish in mind, your desired outcome in mind, and a general plan, consider what obstacles you foresee getting in your way.  Once you’ve identified some barriers you might run into, formulate a WHEN, THEN plan and visualize yourself executing your plan.  WHEN I’m offered a second helping of food, THEN I’ll reply by saying “No, thank you. It was delicious but I’m satisfied and comfortably full right now.”
  6. Do you have any accountability or any external motivation to stay on track while you build up your internal motivation for sustainability? Is there someone who has your best interest in mind that you could enlist as an accountability partner and share your goals and your plan with and ask them if you could text them every day/week to let them know what you did or what you could have done differently to keep you moving forward?  Or is there a special something you could treat yourself to when you reach a certain milestone that you can use as positive reinforcement? 
  7. Were you specific enough? It’s common to set a resolution such as “I will improve my health” or “I will stop eating so much junk.” What we know is that the more specific you can be about your goals, the more likely you are to not only stick to them, but to achieve them. One tip is to make your goals SMART Goals.  That stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound.   So once you have a goal in mind, make sure it has all of these attributes.  For example, "I will lower my blood pressure to 120/70 by my physical exam in April by using meditative breathing techniques 10 minutes a day at least 5 days a week." 

New Year's is also a time of gratitude, self-acceptance and self-reflection. I encourage you all to take some time this coming week and ask yourself:

What parts of 2022 would be better left behind? What would I benefit from moving on from?

What parts of 2022 energized me and brought me joy? What would I benefit from doing more of in 2023?

What values do I need to achieve this? Is it courage, resilience, patience, gratitude, or another one?

What actionable, measurable, time bound resolutions can I make to get me where I want to be?

Write this down. Put it somewhere you'll see it daily. Revisit these intentions quarterly and readjust as you make progress. Or reevaluate if you struggle.

Allow yourself the compassion to take baby steps towards your goals and remember that practice makes progress and practice makes permanent.

If you are looking for help and support in reaching your health and wellness goal, give our office a call today to find out more about how we help our patients promote a healthy weight, have more energy, and feel comfortable and confident in their skin.

Cheers to 2023 and to you!

Kathy Zetelski Kathy Zetelski is the Wellness Coach at Dr. G's Weight Loss & Wellness in Sparta, NJ.

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