Happy New Year 2019!

Many of us make all kinds of “New Year Resolutions” every year. Some that I frequently hear are: “I’m going to lose 10, 20 or 50 pounds this year.” OR “I’m going to go to the gym 5 days every week this year.” OR “I’m cutting out all sugar this year.” And on and on….. Very often these resolutions end up in the trash can after a couple weeks.

What are some resolutions that have a chance of succeeding?

Resolutions that aim for very small, incremental behavior changes. Each change is ridiculously small, and easily achievable.
For some ideas check out https://www.tinyhabits.com. The ‘Tiny Habits’ program was developed by BJ Fogg PhD, a behavioral psychologist at Stanford University.

Resolutions that actually make a difference in our lives.

Here is one big goal broken down into several small steps:

Eating breakfast is a good resolution; research shows us that eating in the morning is healthy. It may even help us better regulate our blood sugar and keep from gaining weight. But, no one is going to go from eating nothing in the morning to eating a complete, balanced meal all at once. Try this:

  • Step one: “I’m going to eat “something” in the morning before I go to work.” That “something” could be a piece of fruit, slice of bread, piece of cheese, or even a doughnut. The goal is to get into the habit of putting something in your stomach each day.
  • Step two (after you’ve been doing step one for a couple weeks): “I’m going to eat a protein in the morning before I go to work each day.” That protein could be a piece of last night’s chicken, a slice of cheese, a hard cooked egg, a spoonful of peanut butter. This could be by itself OR in addition to whatever you’ve been eating in the morning for the last couple weeks.
  • Step three (after step two for a couple weeks): “I’m going to add a fruit or vegetable to my protein each morning before I go to work .” This could be a carrot, apple, orange, banana, leftover cooked veggies or green salad in addition to that chicken, meat, cheese, peanut butter…
  • Eventually you are eating a complete balanced meal for breakfast. It might not look like anything your mother taught you a breakfast should look like, but it is a meal. Eating a meal in the morning is a healthy thing to do for yourself. The important thing is to start small and build on your achievements.

If we give ourselves a very large goal, it will be easy to just throw up our hands and say “this is impossible”. Small goals that we can actually stick with long term will help us feel better about ourselves AND actually move toward achieving a large goal.

Good resolutions are ones that make life better–healthier for mind, body or soul, more efficient or just more fun!

Here are some ideas: “I’m going to…

  • “… take the bus rather than driving to work one day per week”
  • “…go to bed 10 minutes earlier each night.”
  • “…walk to the mailbox to pick up my mail at least 1 day per week, rather than drive by on my way home from work”
  • “… spend 5-10 minutes reading for pleasure every night before I go to bed.”
  • “… take a hot bubble bath 1 night per week before I go to bed.”
  • “…have a friend over for a meal once a month.”
  • “…see a movie in a theatre once a month.”
  • “…cut down from 2 spoonfuls to 1 spoonful of sugar in my coffee or tea each morning.”
  • “… buy some ready to eat raw vegetables to eat for snacks each week.”
  • “…get rid of something that is cluttering my space at least once a month.”

What do you really want to achieve, AND what is a very small step toward achieving it? That very small step is a good resolution for the New Year.