January 14, 2016
Each new year is a time to consider our lifestyle and choices over the past 12 months and consider what changes would help us create a happier future.
For some of us, by the middle of January we've broken them all and given up! It's not that we still don't want to make those changes; sometimes we just go about them in an "all or nothing fashion" and become easily discouraged.
Here are some tips on how to make your New Year's Resolutions Work for you!
** Studies have shown that just writing down goals increases your likelihood of completing them by over 40%! Sometimes the very act of writing something down helps us to clarify and refine our thinking, which may lead to resolutions that are more specific or realistic.
Having written resolutions also helps us to remember that original inspiration. We may want to include why we feel that goal is important and what benefits we hope to realize from achieving it. This may help to spur us on when our motivation may lag at a later date.
Prioritize your resolutions in order of their importance to you so that you are tackling the things that matter most first. You will have the greatest motivation to work on the things that are most important and you will gain the greatest satisfaction from achieving these.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make too many changes at once. Many people fail because they try to completely reinvent themselves on the first day and then give up because it didn’t work! Start with 1 to 3 things that are most important to you.
If, after a few weeks, you feel you can add more, than do so.
Some goals are too big to accomplish in one leap. Like building a house, you need to lay the foundation first, then frame them in, before working on the walls and the windows.
Break larger resolutions down into easy steps That will help you feel more successful as you accomplish each step and know that you are moving forward towards the larger goal.
Sundays are often a good day to do this. Congratulate yourself on what you've done well. If something isn't going well, don't beat yourself up and feel like a failure. Try to evaluate why things didn't go as planned and use this time to ponder how you could modify your approach to be more successful.
Once you've completed a goal or established a solid change, you can choose a new challenge. Make new weekly and daily lists at this time to keep your goals in front of you. Some find writing encouraging messages on their bathroom mirror or on sticky notes that they can put on the refrigerator or in their car helps them to stick with it during the week.
Studies have shown that checking off a task as accomplished actually releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body, sometimes described as a “natural high! This gives you encouragement and makes you feel good about your progress. You may want to put other tasks you know you'll accomplish on this list as well, just to increase that good feeling!
** Choosing all of our goals from one area of our life can result in us being lopsided or overwhelm us with all the change going in one direction. Try to balance your resolutions so you are not working on three things from one area at the same time.
Here are some ideas by area on small changes and ways to make some resolutions easier to keep.
Don't feel that you have to do a two hour commitment each day to be healthy. Just doing some regular form of exercise for 30 minutes a day will improve your health! Walk, run, dance, bicycle (indoors or out), swim, do yoga, take a class, go to the gym, or use a DVD at home– whatever works for you. Just do something!
Start new exercise slowly and build up bit by bit. Forcing you body to do something you haven’t prepared it for will only result in injury. Here's a simple change that can improve your health. If you sit for long periods of time, get up and move around every 30 minutes; more frequently if you are working on your computer or phone (see How You Can Avoid Text Neck).
Make a plan to go outside every day. Even if you just take a short walk, it will invigorate your body and help clear your mind.
Socialization and relaxation time each day help reduce stress and increase mental agility.
Schedule relaxation time and don’t feel guilty when you’re doing it! Take time to talk to friends and family.
Laugh every day. Find the humor in the world around you and share it with others. Watch or read something funny.
Reconnect with a friend of family member that you haven’t talked to for a while.
Schedule fun events. These will give you something to look forward to during trying days.
Play! With your children, pets, friends.
Start a new hobby.
Join a new group.
If you feel you are not getting enough sleep, this could be an important resolution! Change your bedtime, not your wake-up time. We naturally fall into a deep sleep two hours before the time we would naturally wake up.
You should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. You’ll sleep better if you go to bed and get up the same time each day. And learn not to hit the snooze button!
Stay away from all blue light devices (cell phone, computer screens, etc.) at least a half hour before bed.
Caffiene can cause you to be wide awake when you would like to be snoozing. If this is a problem for you, stop consuming drinks with caffiene after 3:00 pm.
Make your bed every morning. Studies show that people who make their beds every morning sleep better at night!
Put fresh foods in front and in eye level in your refrigerator and hide less healthy options, so when you’re hungry you’ll see the healthy foods first.
Eat plenty of whole grains.
Cut out trans fats,
Don’t eat anything with the following words in the ingredients: hydrogenated, high fructose, corn syrup, any sugars ending in “ose” (these are alcohol sugars),
Remember to be healthy, you need time to feed your spirit as well as your body.
Schedule time for prayer and scripture study.
Remember to be grateful. Say thank you.
Keep a daily gratitude journal. Studies have shown that doing so helps increase happiness!
Recognize your talents; feel good about the things you do well, and use them to help others.
Don’t compare your worst to someone else’s best.
Do something every day to make someone else happy.