Are you planning to indulge over the holidays and then start fresh with your New Year’s resolution of losing weight in the new year? That is what many people do but they often struggle to implement the plan or give up after a few days into the new year. To help you succeed with your health resolutions, here are ten tips to prepare for a healthy and happy new year.
1. Take Stock of Where You Are – This is a great time of year to reflect on the year that is coming to an end. What were your successes this year? What do you want to work harder on next year? What are the changes that you want to make in your life? Consider the different areas of your life – health, work, relationships, spirituality, community, personal fulfillment. If you are thinking “wait, I thought this was just about losing weight,” have you considered how unhappiness or imbalance in one area of your life might be causing you to neglect another? Have you considered how improving your health might allow you to grow in happiness in another area of your life? For example, for some of us, over-eating, drinking too much alcohol or other behaviors can be a way of suppressing our feelings about situations we want to change. Sometimes its something we do because that’s what the people around us are doing. This is your life! How do you want to live it? Your decision to make a positive change may even have an inspirational impact on the people around you and allow the positive changes that you would like to see in your life..
2. Set Your Goals Before the New Year Begins – Define and set your goals before the new year starts so that you will be ready to take action and implement your new habits on January 1st. Follow the steps below to help define your goal and prepare for starting the new year off right with the healthy habits that will help you reach your goals.
3. Create a Vision Board – Creating a vision board is a great activity to do to set your intentions for the coming year. You can work on this by yourself but it can be even more fun and powerful if you do it as an activity with family or a group of friends. To start, gather lots of old magazines that contain imagery that appeal to you but that you don’t’ mind cutting up and. You will also need a large sheet of card or foam board ie., 12×16” or 16×20”, some glue sticks, scissors and any additional lettering or embellishments you might want to add. To create you vision board go through the magazines and look for images and words that represent what you want to have in your life in the new year. Here are some ideas for you to think about as you are gathering images and sticking them onto your dream board:
- What will I look like when I am strong and healthy?
- What kind of food will I be eating?
- What fun, healthy activities do I want to participate in?
- What kind of house do I want to live in? Or, how do I want my house to look?
- What kind of job will I be doing?
- Will I be going on vacation? What are the places that I would like to visit?
These are just a few ideas to get you started with visualizing your dream life for the new year. Add cuts outs of words to your dream board also to articulate your vision of where you want to be. When you are finished with your dream board keep it in a place where you will see it every day. Some people have achieved incredible success with this exercise where they have looked back on their dream boards years later with wonder at the specificity with which they achieved those goals. Visualization can be a powerful tool to help you reach your goals!
4. Break Your Goals Down to Smaller Steps to Implement Throughout the Year – Starting with a huge goal can be overwhelming. If you say to yourself, “I want to lose 50lbs next year,” break it down into smaller time frames. Ie., Set up a quarterly goal of losing 15lbs by April 1st then losing another 15lbs by July 1st Break that down further to a monthly goal of losing 5lbs a month. That is a lot more manageable and sustainable than expecting yourself to suddenly lose 50lbs.
5. Set Up a Method to Track Your Goals – Whether you use a calendar or an app it is essential to track your progress as you work towards your goals. A simple spreadsheet or daily note in your calendar can be used to help you track your new habits. Take regular note of your daily actions, such as workouts, meal changes etc. That way you can see and track your progress. If you find that you didn’t meet your goal for the first month that means that you may have to work harder the next month to meet your monthly and quarterly target.
6. Set a Reward for Reaching Your Goals – Many people find it helpful to reward themselves when they reach a target. However, you don’t want to choose a reward that is going to set you back in your goal. Choose a reward that will complement and support you in your new healthy lifestyle. It could be something like, “When I lose 15lbs I am going to spend $100 on new clothes on some new clothes” You will need some new clothes once you are losing weight too!
7. Set Up Your Environment for Success – This is important. If you want to start eating in a healthier way in the new year, start by removing those items from your pantry that could sabotage your success. Start researching healthy recipes that appeal to you and start filling your fridge and pantry with those healthier ingredients before the new year starts. If your goal includes working out more, start by picking out what work-out clothes you will be wearing. Make sure that you have a gym bag set to go if you will be going to the gym. If you will be exercising at home, decide where you will exercise and make sure that you have a clear, safe area to exercise. Have your work out mat or towel and any workout equipment set and out and ready to use. It will be a lot easier to start with your healthy habits if your environment is prepared and you have what you need to get started.
8.Visualize Yourself Having Already Achieved Your Goals – This goes hand in hand with your vision board. Spend some quiet time each day, perhaps as a brief morning meditation or with your morning beverage of choice, just close your eyes, breathe deeply and visualize yourself six months from now, having already achieved your goal. What does that feel like? How does your body feel? How confident do you feel? How relaxed are you? How happy are you now that you have achieved your goal? What does your day look like now that you have achieved your goal? This is a great way to start your day and commit to your goals.
9. Review Your Goals on a Daily Basis – Either before or after your morning visualization look over your goals. Have them written out on a board where you can see them, or on an index card that you keep in your wallet but read them to yourself on a daily basis. Another powerful activity you can do is to rewrite your goals and affirm them in writing and to yourself in the present tense. Write other affirmations in the present tense that are associated with that goal. For example, create affirmations such as “I am achieving my goal of losing Xlbs by X date. I am taking consistent positive daily action to help me reach my goal.”
10. Share Your Goals with Someone – Sharing your goals with someone you trust can be a powerful motivator. Make sure it is someone who will hold you accountable to those goals and will not let you make excuses. Most of the time, just the first step of articulating your goal to another person can solidify and bolster your commitment to that goal. It is more difficult for you to back down from your commitment once you have declared it to someone else. An additional benefit is that the person or people that you announce the goal to will recognize your commitment and will be more inclined to help you achieve your goal. They might even decide to commit to a health goal with you!
I hope that you find these tips to be helpful. I wish you every success in reaching your goals!