The holiday season is approaching and for many of us that means parties, food, drinks, and sweets followed by a few hasty New Years resolutions. But why not get a head start on your resolutions? If you know what you’ll resolve to do on January 1, there’s no time like the present to start working toward your goal. And if you’re not sure what you’d like to change or work toward, now is a great time to start thinking about it.
Setting a New Years resolution on the first of the year can put so much pressure on us that something we intended to be good for us, can almost become self defeating. The holidays can become a time where we start to develop bad habits – eating and drinking more than normal, getting off our schedules, working out less. This makes New Years resolutions feel even more drastic and harder to maintain. Starting your resolutions now can not only put you ahead of the New Year’s rush at the gym, but will help you build long term habits and set you up for success.
By starting now, you allow yourself time to think about what it really is that you want and to develop a plan for success. Once you’ve determined what you want to do and more importantly, why you want to do it, you can start formulating your plan. Planning ahead is one of the most important components of goal setting. Having a plan helps keep us on track and helps us avoid making decisions that go against our goals.
When making your plan, be realistic. Setting attainable short and long term goals puts us in a position to be successful and focus on what really matters. Dream big, but follow a realistic path toward your dream. If your goal is to eat better, instead of saying you won’t have any pie at Thanksgiving dinner, say you will just have one serving of pie. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love, but limit the portions or frequency of those things that don’t help you reach your goals.
As you achieve each goal or reach a milestone, celebrate your accomplishment. Keep track of your progress so you can look back to see just how far you’ve come.
Talk about your goals. There’s no better way to commit than to put it out there. Let your friends and family know what you intend to do and garner their support. They may even be willing to go on a walk or to the gym with you after a big holiday meal.
Do your best each day. Building new, healthy habits during the holidays when we are faced with so much temptation can be difficult. So each day, resolve to do your best and don’t beat yourself up for having that second cookie. Take things one day at a time and try not to let a slip up derail your progress. If you get off track, recommit for 24 hours. You can do anything for 24 hours. Developing a new habit takes 21 days and it takes 6 months for that habit to become a part of our personalities. Stick to your plan and know that it will not happen overnight but by the time New Year’s rolls around, you could make a healthy behavior a habit.
Enjoy the holiday season and take the opportunity to get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions and build long lasting healthy habits!