While we all sit and think of the most drastic health improvement goals for the coming 2017 start, consider this alternative to reaching your 2017 goals and beyond. Only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic. There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures.
Setting overly ambitious and restrictive goals is one major cause of failure. While you might initially feel inspired and energized by setting blowout goals for 2017, the luster of these resolutions fades quickly when we realize how difficult they are to keep.
“January 1st signifies a new beginning. However, each day allows for a new beginning, therefore it can become a mind, body, spiritual reset.”
Small, incremental lifestyle changes may feel less ambitious and serious, but they have a much greater chance of supporting real change. Moderating your resolutions could be the difference between giving up in February and creating a lasting lifestyle change.When resolutions are too ambitious, we struggle to change our habits, become discouraged when we fail and ultimately give up altogether. So instead of making hard-line resolutions this year, try increasing your chances for long-term success by approaching your health goals as a “reset.”
What’s the difference? While a resolution represents a firm decision to do or not do something, think of a reset as an opportunity to set again, or set your habits differently. With a reset, you commit to moderate, realistic goals and making small changes every day, not just on the 1st. A reset also allows for flexibility as you progress and figure out what does and doesn’t work for you.
Say you’re thinking about giving up red meat, or sugar as your resolution for 2017. With this more realistic “reset approach”, you might decide to only indulge in a burger or dessert once a week, or maybe you cut your meat portion sizes in half and add more vegetables to your plate instead. Or cut out all refined sugar during the week, but allow for a sweet treat over the weekend. Either way give yourself some room to grow into this new lifestyle change. Make a more practical change, and see these new healthy habits stick around throughout the year, and not just those first couple weeks or months.
Another disadvantage of resolutions is that they typically have a clear start date, like Jan. 1, which tricks your brain into thinking that they have an end date, too. A reset, on the other hand, is about creating healthy habits for the long term. But being realistic doesn’t have to mean compromising on your goals. If you're resets are successful, you can work up to eliminating a certain food completely or making a new habit an everyday one. Whatever you decide to commit to, the important thing is to use the energy of the new year as an opportunity to make important changes for your health. There is nothing more important than investing in your body, and your sense of well-being each day of this coming new year!