Whether you’re looking to loose weight, give up smoking or just get a little healthier 86% of adults set themselves a New Years Resolution on the 31st of December. But, did you know that only 15% manage to actually keep up with their resolution for longer than a month. That’s why we’ve spoken to some leading medical proffesionals to come up with a list of our 5 best tips and tricks for this year!
1. Get your priorities straight.
Every year, I set a few goals, but I use a tier-like system. At the top are goals I absolutely have to complete (this year, it’s being more mindful). Next are those I want to complete, and finally, I set a stretch goal that would be nice to complete by the end of the year (like completing a century ride or marathon). Often, I choose goals based on the previous year and how I can make my life easier or more enjoyable the next year. I recommend taking the time to write down what you want and why. (For example, being mindful helps me re-center and remember what counts in my busy life.) Keep that list somewhere visible, read or look at it daily, and remember the reason you’re taking this journey.
— Brunilda Nazario, MD, associate medical director at WebMD
2. Go easy on yourself.
I view all new habits as an experiment rather than a judgment on my worthiness or skills. Meaning, I don’t beat myself up if something doesn’t stick the first time I try it. Instead, I ask myself: What worked? What didn’t work? And what could I do differently next time to achieve better results? I do this until I have a clear understanding of what stops me from doing something and what keeps me doing it, then I make sure those conditions are met. If I can make it so an action is easy and rewarding enough to do regularly, then I win.
— Darya Rose, PhD, author of Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting
3. Take small steps.
Scheduling small steps toward goals is a key to success. For example, I have set the goal of having dessert only 2 times per week (down from 4 times!) and going to yoga twice per week. For yoga, I will look at my calendar at the beginning of the week and see where I can fit it in. Even though sometimes this is challenging as a working mum, I will try my hardest to get it done. The hope is that after several weeks, it will become a good habit.
— Hansa Bhargava, MD, medical editor and expert pediatrician at WebMD
4. Remember the real goal.
People tend to forget what health is for. Health is not the prize — a better life is the prize. Healthy people have more fun: more vitality, more energy, more capability, more time. Once you understand how abundantly investments in health pay you back, staying motivated simply isn’t an issue.
— David L. Katz, MD, founding director, Yale University Prevention Research Center
5. Track your progress daily.
I write my resolutions in a daily planner, then review and re-read them every day when I sit down to check my calendar. Each of my resolutions is quantifiable on a day-to-day basis, and I have direct control over my progress toward achieving them. For example, the common New Year’s resolution of “weight loss” is not actionable: You can’t wake up and “do” weight loss, but you can wake up and have eggs with a side of fruit.
— Mike Roussell, PhD, nutritional consultant and author of The 6 Pillars of Nutrition