January is the first month in the new calendar year. It’s also the month where many people make a New Year’s Resolution to live a healthier life and try to stay dedicated to keeping it. Health motivation is the reason for a majority of resolutions and they are created with the best of intentions. However, by the time February rolls around, many have been abandoned and many people have returned to their old, unhealthy ways.
There are many reasons why the 91% of people that make resolutions do not accomplish them. How can you be one of the few who actually achieves what you set out to do? Believe it or not, a lot of the keys to the successful accomplishment of your resolutions actually lie in proper planning.
Specify Your Goals
Many people fail to accomplish their resolution because they left their goals too broad. Abstract goals have abstract results, and it’s hard to create an actionable plan around them. For instance, saying “I want to be healthy” may be well-intentioned, but it’s lacking in true meaning or definition. Two different people will have two different expectations for “being healthy.”
When a goal is specific, the means of achievement become much easier to grasp. Rather than saying “I want to be healthy,” try something like “I want to eat more whole foods at every meal and start exercising consistently.” With a clear goal, you begin to understand the changes you need to make in your life in order to achieve success.
Focus on the Journey, Not the Outcome
One way to keep your health motivation strong is by focusing on the journey you’re embarking on, rather than the outcome. Losing 15 pounds is great. However, many of people who lose a significant amount of weight end up gaining it back. What’s the reason? They place more emphasis on the end result than on the positive lifestyle changes that got them there.
Making a positive lifestyle change is a marathon, not a sprint. By making a concerted effort to eat healthily and exercise every day, you’ll ultimately reach your overarching goal of losing weight. More importantly, embracing these changes as a way of life, and not just a temporary fix, will reinforce a lasting change in the way you live your life. Not only will you lose those 15 pounds but you’ll be able to ensure they don’t come back.
Be Realistic and Reevaluate
Part of maintaining your health motivation to achieve your resolution is understanding that changes will not occur overnight. A few weeks of trying to change your lifestyle can’t undo a lifetime of living a certain way, no matter how strong your mental dedication is. Be patient with the changes, the process, and, most importantly, be patient with yourself.
Everyone slips up now and then. Even the healthiest individuals have occasions where they “cheat.” It’s totally natural. What’s important is not letting these infrequent slips to become a habit. Embrace your faults. Understand what led you to your moment of weakness so that you can recognize it in the future. Ultimately, don’t let these moments discourage you to the point where you feel you’ve utterly failed. Tomorrow is a new day.
Perhaps you set a goal that was too ambitious. Remember that resolutions are not set in stone. If setting a target of 60 minutes of exercise every single day was an unrealistic starting point, simply readjust. Try 60 minutes every other day, or 3 days/week. You can always scale up from there when you’re able to. Reassessing your progress after a couple weeks will help you better understand what’s a realistic expectation, and it will ultimately make you more successful in the long run.
Many people, especially those who have tried to set these resolutions in the past and have failed, are hesitant to broadcast when they’re trying to lose weight or be more active because they fear judgment. They don’t want their friends or family to judge them if they ultimately don’t achieve their goal. This type of thinking will only set you up for failure. In reality, telling your friends and family about your goals can ultimately help make your resolution a success.
For one, it makes those around you aware of your journey. If they know you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, they can be there to help you when you need it. On days when you feel like giving in to your cravings, you can turn to your friends for motivation or support. In addition, if they know you’re trying to be healthy, they may be less likely to involve you in situations that could tempt your resolve. For instance, if your friends know and support your resolution to lose weight, they may choose a different restaurant with healthier options for your weekly get-together.
Second, telling others about your resolution will, in turn, make you more accountable for your actions. It’s a way to keep you honest. If your coworkers know you’re trying to lower your blood sugar, then you won’t want them to spot you dipping into the box of doughnuts in the break room.
Need More Health Motivation?
Probably the best method to success when trying to live a healthier life is by enlisting the help of a functional medicine or medical weight loss doctor. It’s hard to enact life-altering changes on your own. With the advice and guidance of a professional behind you, the change becomes easier because you’ll always have someone in your corner. They’ll be able to provide the health motivation you need to stay true to living a healthier, more positive lifestyle.
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker, and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.” She can make you slim, sharp, sexy and supercharged. She is an expert in anti-aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, medical nutrition, supplements, and executive health. Dr. Maita was the medical director for 3 Fortune 100 companies and has a private practice specializing in Functional, Integrative, Personalized and Anti-Aging Medicine in Summit and Basking Ridge, NJ. She educates virtually at www.vibranceforlife.com. She is also an advisory team member for Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life on WOR radio, the #1 talk radio station in the NY Metropolitan area. If you’re ready for the health motivation you need to make a lasting change in your life, contact her office today.