Written by Johnnie May McDonald, a Salad Station Blog Contributor
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Have you maintained that new goal? It’s only been a few weeks since January 1st and most of us have already fallen off the wagon a few times, and some of us aren’t trying to get back on it. I’m sure quitting seems like the better option because change is so hard to make. However, perhaps the first thing we need to change is our mindset about New Year’s resolutions. Maybe instead of setting a rigid year long goal for ourselves, we should commit to adopting a new lifestyle. This mindset shift leaves room for us to make mistakes and learn as we go. Below are a few ways you can get this new mindset and create a lifestyle change.
HOW TO MAKE LIFESTYLE CHANGES
1. Be Realistic. Do not set unrealistic goals or give yourself an unrealistic time to reach your goals. For instance, if you want to lose weight, it is unrealistic to set a goal of losing 50 pounds in one month. This will set you up for disappointment. Disappointment leads to loss of hope. Loss of hope leads to quitting.
2. Be patient with yourself. This is real life, not a movie. We rarely set our minds to a goal and magically we act accordingly. Instead, we set goals and we strive to do a little better every day. Small increments of progress will lead to a lifestyle change.
3. Establish a routine. Creating a lifestyle change means you are altering the way you think and behave. You are creating a new normal. Creating a routine will help you create new healthy habits and a new normal.
4. Feed your mind. Change comes from the inside. First, your heart is ignited by the hope of change, then your brain shifts, and last, your actions follow. Feed your mind with books, podcasts, magazines, movies, art, support groups, music, or anything else that is directed towards the change you seek to make. This will keep you encouraged and it will keep the idea at the forefront of your mind.
5. Plan for the change. We often fail because we don’t plan. Remember that creating a lifestyle change means you are going against the grain. So plan as much as you can.
6. Schedule time to celebrate the gym, meal plan, speak to your family and friends about supporting your fresh changes, hire help, or anything else you need to do to make way for your recent lifestyle changes.
7. Find support. Changing yourself will not be easy, and this task isn’t for the weak. You will need a firm support system to hold you accountable and uplift you. Think of someone in your life who is a positive force. Who do you call when you need help? Consider asking them if they would like to partner with you on this journey. If that is not an option for you, consider finding a safe online support group or local group of like-minded individuals.
8. Track your progress. Looking back on how far you’ve come will keep you encouraged. Keep a notepad and write down your successes, no matter how little. Share your little wins with a supportive friend who will celebrate with you.
9. Tackle one problem at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your new life won’t be either. Don’t try to fix everything at once. Instead, pick one thing and work on it, then build off your successes.
10. Give yourself grace. When you mess up, because you will fail sometimes, don’t quit. Don’t engage in negative self talk. Take a second and access what went wrong and how you got there, then make a plan that supports better choices next time. Remember, failure doesn’t happen when we mess up. Failure happens when we quit trying.
11. Enjoy the journey. That is right, my friend! Some days will be easy, some days will be hard, both days you’re getting better. Be alert and intentional about this journey. Decide that you will enjoy and express gratitude as often as you can. That mindset will make all the difference.
Learning how to turn New Year’s resolutions into lifestyle changes can be tricky, but these tips will help you succeed. Remember the feeling of hope and joy you had when you decided to embark on this journey and let that drive you every day.