Winning Resolutions: 5 Tips for Your Best Year Ever
1. Avoid Universals
If your resolutions start with “I will never…” or “I will always….” or even “I will ____ every day,” you are setting yourself up for failure. It’s tempting to make grand resolutions, since the fantasy is that this is the year you totally change your life. But the reality is, change is hard. If you fail one time after promising an “always” or “never,” it will feel like you already lost the battle and you will be tempted to throw in the towel.
do this instead: Create resolutions that make adjustments, instead of complete overhauls. Add one extra
serving of fruits and veggies to your daily intake. Spend an extra hour a week exercising. Reduce your spending in one area by a set amount. When you make goals manageable, the success will spur you on to keep making positive changes!
2. Keep it Short
Maybe you have a laundry list of things you want to change, and you think the longer the list the better your chances of hitting some of those goals. The experts disagree. The longer the list, the more overwhelming it can be and the harder it will be for you to manage all the pressure.
do this instead: Keep your list to one, two, or a max of three resolutions. Even better? Set one resolution every four months so you have time to focus and adjust to one change before moving on to the next.
3. Keep it simple
If you have a complex resolution like “eat better” or “get in shape” you’ll have a hard time finding the steps to get there or defining success. The easiest resolutions to keep are the ones that start with baby steps, and the ones that set a clear goal.
do this instead: If you want to improve your diet, try a simple goal such as “pack a healthy lunch twice a week.” If you want to improve your fitness, try a resolution like “do 6 pushups in a row.”
4. Give it Time
Often people tend to give up on resolutions because they don’t see immediate results. Remind yourself that change is a slow process. For the first few months, you are laying the ground work to change your habits and adjust your course.
do this instead: It’s hard to see incremental change, so keep track of your results in a diary. Then check back once a month or so to gauge your progress. It can be helpful to use a calendar to mark your success each day. Seeing a full month of successful days can be a powerful motivator to continue.
5. Change your reality
If you want to change your life, change your reality. Perhaps you go out Friday nights for drinks and have resolved to cut back on alcohol. Instead of sipping water while you watch your friends drinking, do something different. Do yoga, watch a movie, call your mom. We are not suggesting you isolate yourself, but chances are you know your triggers and your weakest points. Part of willpower is avoiding temptation when you can.
do this instead: If you are committed to losing weight, get rid of those “fat” pants that act as a safety net for relapse. If you are giving up smoking, get rid of the ashtrays and tell your friends not to give you cigarettes. If you are improving your diet, throw out the chips and cookies so you won’t be tempted.
Suprising Reasons You May Have Trouble Losing Weight
You may be doing everything right, but still don’t see the results you want. Here are some reasons you may not have thought of that could be keeping you from your goal weight.
If you have trouble losing weight it could be a sign of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. If your thyroid gland is underactive it can affect your metabolism. Some signs that your thyroid may be to blame are joint pain, dry skin, constipation, fatigue, and depression. If you suspect that you may have thyroid problems, talk to you doctor about doing a blood test.
You probably realize that when you are stressed you are tempted to eat comfort foods or snack on candy to fuel your workday. But there are medical reasons why stress can make you gain weight. In times of stress, your body produces elevated levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, which can stimulate your appetite and cause weight gain in the abdominal area.
If you are not getting enough sleep your body may produce even more cortisol to keep you going during the day. When sleep deprived, your body also produces more of the hormone grhelin, which increases appetite, and less of the hormone leptin, which signals fullness and tells you to stop eating.
If you think it’s your hormones that are revving up your appetite and making you eat too much, focus on relieving stress and getting more sleep.
Most people know if they have a food allergy that causes symptoms like a rash, trouble breathing, or abdominal pain. These type of allergies are classified as Ige (immunoglobulin E) allergies and are associated with acute symptoms. There is another type of food allergy that often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are more gradual and subtle. The IgG (immunoglobulin G) allergies can cause chronic issues in multiple body systems. Food allergies can make you feel lethargic, especially after eating, and they can also be responsible for cravings. You might experience digestive issues, trouble losing weight, migraines, and inflammation.
Talk to your doctor about IgG testing if you suspect you may have food allergies.