According to a survey, 33% of surveyed Canadians said their top resolution for the new year was to improve personal fitness and nutrition. 21% wanted to focus on financial goals. 13% wanted to spend more time on travel and leisure, and a close 11% had resolved to quit bad habits.
I've made my share of New Year's Resolutions. I've had my share of failure and success too. But over time, I have realised what it takes to turn resolutions into habits that make a positive impact on my life.
First and foremost, I have broken down the process into three steps.
Step 1: Think about it
Make sure the goal is specific, measurable and achievable. Most of all make sure it's exciting enough to ensure that you pursue it whole heartedly.
Unspecific goal - I want to save more money this year
Specific goal - I want to save $3000 this year
Loosely defined goal - I want to lose weight
Measurable goal - I want to lose 3 pounds over the next 2 months
Casually defined goal - I want to keep in touch with my cousins
Achievable goal - I will call a cousin every friday on my way back home from work
Step 2: Plan it
I read a nice quote somewhere....."If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail". Make sure you plan your actions. Plan the time, the execution, the environment. Make sure you have everything you need to help you carry out the plan.
If you have decided to exercise everyday, make sure you have clean comfortable work-out clothes for each day, sneakers, and maybe some music. If you use exercise equipment, make sure the equipment is working properly, etc.
Step 3: Ink it, don't think it, and definitely act on it!
Sometimes, we make many goals in our head and we end up forgetting them. I always think it's a good idea to jot them down somewhere. By recording your goal, you make a conscious commitment that this is what you want to achieve. Once you have made this commitment, put it in places that can easily be seen. Put it in your gym bag, put it on your bathroom mirror or your kitchen fridge. Record your goals and your progress, and will serve as motivation. If needed, monitor your progress and re-evaluate your goals.
Research shows that telling others your goal makes you feel like you've already achieved it. But other studies indicate that sharing progress can help you keep going. Confide in one friend, then share achievements with others when you're on the road to success.
Don’t set too many goals too soon. When we set a goal this allows you to focus your attention on that goal. If you set too many goals you will not be able to commit 100 per cent to each one of them.
Finally, if you do come across some barriers and fail to meet a few of your short term goals, it is not the end of the world. Try and learn from the situation and make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice. This will help develop new achievement strategies.
As a healthcare consultant, I highly recommend one resolution for you: don't postpone doctor's appointments or regular visits to the dentist.
Make your healthcare appointments for the year:
Open your calendar app/diary and make your healthcare appointments for the year in one sitting — not only will you get the anxiety-inducing nuisance over with, but exams will be less likely to get squeezed out as everyday life gets busy and stressful. Start with your Family Physician, and ask which screenings (e.g., mammogram, colonoscopy) and shots you're due for. Slot those in, then move on to the dentist's office, etc.
Fill your resolution list with achievable, good-for-you goals. Make one lifestyle tweak at a time, and you'll feel fantastic and psyched to make 2019 your best year yet.
Happy New Year!!!
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.