Tricks to make New Year’s resolutions stick

Health

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The Christmas fudge and peppermint patties are hopefully gone by now.

So how do you get back on track? Especially if you’re still carrying some extra pandemic pounds.

Resolving to lose weight and get fit is commendable, but eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.

If you want to increase your odds of success this year, our health expert, Karen Owoc, is here with her tricks to help make your resolutions stick.

1. Commit to Thirty Days

Consider the first 30 days as the foundation for creating a new habit. It takes time to make a new behavior stick, but you’ll increase the chances of achieving your new pledge if you commit to making it through these 30 days. Also, when you make a resolution, you intend to follow through for 365 days and beyond, but if you concentrate all your efforts into these first 30 days, it may be seem more doable.

2. Do It Daily

Once you commit to 30 days, do it EVERY day. Whatever your goal — whether it’s to go walk or eat 5 servings of vegetables a day — do it DAILY for the first 30 days. It’s easier to nail down the habit if you do it every day versus a few days a week. The goal is consistency.

3. Own It

Resolutions fail because they’re made based on what someone else (such as your spouse, doctor, or parent) is telling you to change. Be sure your New Year’s resolution is a goal YOU want to achieve. That is, it’s not based on what you “should” do, but instead, based on something you WANT to do.

4. Relish the Reward

Rewards are the end goal of every habit, so notice the reward. If your goal is to exercise for 30 days, then embrace how great you feel after you exercise — e.g., more energetic, less stressed, and proud of your accomplishment.

When it comes to forming a new habit, you chase the rewards because they’re not only satisfying, they teach you which actions are worth repeating.

5. Be Specific

Resolutions fail because they’re too vague. For example, if you want to start exercising, schedule a specific time of day to do it, the place, type of exercise, and the duration or distance. You’ll be more likely to be consistent if you can monitor your efforts and measure the outcomes.

6. Keep It Simple and Realistic

Don’t make your new habit too complicated. Keep it simple and realistic. One reason resolutions fail is because you’re initially bubbling over with motivation and enthusiasm, and your goals become overly ambitious. Consequently, they’re not achievable or they’re too difficult to sustain.

For example, you resolve to “jog every morning for an hour”, but you haven’t exercised in a year. Instead, walk for 20 to 30 minutes (or even 10!) and gradually increase the duration and intensity as the weeks go by. You want to be able to achieve your daily goal for positive reinforcement.

The Takeaway: The brain does not extinguish old habits — they’re always lurking in the background. That’s why it’s so easy to relapse. Remember, when you’re tired, your will wanes, which makes it easier to abandon your resolution. So keep your energy up, and be aware of when you’re most vulnerable to falling back on old habits.

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