New year, new you: With January 1st just around the corner, the pages of a brand-new calendar hold so much hope, potential and opportunity for our individual wellness goals. Unfortunately, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. If you want to make 2021 your healthiest, strongest and happiest year ever, it’s time to make a resolution that actually works. We’ll show you how.
Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work
If you’ve ever made a big vow to transform your life in the new year (e.g. to lose a lot of weight or to kick an unhealthy addiction), we commend you. Unfortunately, crafting those big goals themselves are just one of the many factors that psychologists say will often set us up for failure.
Change is already daunting, says mental health clinician Shainna Ali, PhD, and those big, lofty goals can easily make us feel overwhelmed. “Over time, this pressure may make it seem as though the walls are beginning to close in on you,” warns Ali. “Even if you surface from the pressure, you may not know where the road begins. Further, even if you do know where the journey starts, looking at the long road ahead may cause you to feel as though it’s too much, too soon. These factors may cause you to quit before you even start.”
Other common reasons we struggle to meet our new year’s goals include:
- Resolutions that are simply too extreme (Is it even reasonable to expect to quit smoking in just one month?)
- Resolutions that aren’t clearly defined (When you don’t have a clear destination, it’s impossible to create a clear roadmap to your goal)
- Resolutions that don’t line up with what you truly want (Are you doing this because you actually desire change, or because you’re trying to meet the expectations of a partner, a friend, or society itself?)
- Resolutions that don’t involve support and encouragement (Maintaining change is hard, and creating new habits are tricky if you don’t include methods to stay supported and motivated)
How to Make New Year’s Resolutions That You’ll Actually Keep
1. Just Choose One Thing
A big, ambiguous goal like “I want to be healthier” is great, but it’s not clearly defined. Instead, pick just one specific thing you want to change. After all, true lifestyle change begins with small, incremental adjustments that build on each other.
For example, you might have a goal that you want to run the Boston marathon. But are there specific, smaller goals that you need to do to get there? This might mean losing weight, or improving your endurance, or maybe even STARTING to run in the first place.
Many people choose those big goals, such as running a marathon, because it feels inspiring. But in the end, it’s often simply defeating.
2. Get Very Specific
Once you have a clear goal in mind, make it concrete and measurable. You need to know EXACTLY what it is you’re aiming for, and how to know when you’ve achieved success.
For instance, “I want to save money” is a small goal. It’s a great start, but it’s not specific. A better adjustment might be, “I want to save $10 a week.”
Here are a few other examples:
- “I want to eat healthier” might become “I want to add one fruit or vegetable to every meal”
- “I want to be a vegan” might shift to “I will practice Meatless Mondays every week”
- “I want to get stronger” might turn into “I will go to the gym three times a week.”
3. Plan Ahead to Avoid Problems
Often, we give up when the going gets tough. The truth is, the going WILL get tough any time we try to change our habits or our routines. We can’t avoid that reality. But we can avoid giving up if we look to the future, anticipate future problems, and plan ahead so that we’re ready for these problems.
For example, you might realize that your family’s upcoming spring vacation might make it difficult to stick to your new diet plan. So you might want to begin researching healthy restaurants at your destination, or easy on-the-go snacks that you can bring for yourself.
You might recognize that you’re not an early morning person, which will make those early morning gym sessions difficult once the novelty wears off. So you might plan ahead by packing your gym bag and clothes the night before, and having the coffee maker set to a timer so everything is ready to go when you wake up.
4. Get Accountable
Make your resolutions public so that you’re accountable to your family, your friends or your community. For example, you might tell a friend what your new goals are and ask her to text you once a week for a check-in.
Getting an accountability partner helps to motivate you, keeps you honest, and provides encouragement and support when you’re tired, when you mess up on your goals, or when you fail completely.
5. Expect Failure
No one likes to miss their target, but don’t let that discourage you. Many people give up on their resolutions completely when they have failed to hit a target, but failure is a natural component of any type of lifestyle change.
Did you have a bad weekend where you ate food you shouldn’t have? Don’t use that as an excuse to continue that behavior. Let the past go, and commit to starting anew tomorrow.
Did you skip a week of the gym? Don’t use that as an excuse to stay on the couch tomorrow. The best time to get back on track is now.
Give yourself grace and compassion when you mess up, accept that failure is a part of your journey, and stay motivated. The new year is awaiting you!
New Year, New Supplements
The new year is a great time to revisit your supplements cabinet and ensure you’re supporting your new health goals with the best nutrition possible. Beyond just vitamins and minerals, you may also want to support your immune system with thymic proteins. These proteins help your immune system respond to threats. BioProPlus-500 includes five bioidentical thymic proteins to support your immunity, and also includes the essential mineral zinc.
Beyond New Year’s Resolutions: Keep Reading More