Maybe you’re thinking about starting 2024 with some new resolutions – like quitting smoking, shedding some kilos, getting more active, or simply stressing less about the small stuff. Sound familiar? Maybe these are the same resolutions you made last year!
But how can you make sure your determination to get healthier in 2024 lasts beyond Valentine’s Day? It’s all about creating new habits.
Forming new habits isn’t something that happens overnight, but you’ll start feeling the benefits fairly quickly as you adopt new behaviours. Once you get into the groove of regular walks or stress-relieving practices, you’ll find it hard to stop. That’s motivation enough to keep going. So, keep pushing yourself in the direction you want to go and try these seven tips for making lasting changes.
Setting ambitious goals can be inspiring. Whether it’s running a marathon, losing a significant amount of weight, or just fitting into those old clothes you love, with determination and support, you can achieve it. Ambitious goals can also motivate others around you to cheer you on or even lend a hand.
Break big dreams into small steps
Think small. Taking baby steps can propel you towards your ultimate goal. Look for surefire, easy wins. Starting with simple tasks can boost your confidence to tackle more challenging ones. Don’t underestimate the power of easy choices – they can set the tone for success.
Understand why you resist change
Sometimes, it’s crucial to figure out why you’re clinging to old habits before you can muster the energy and willpower to embrace change. Unhealthy behaviours often offer immediate pleasures and costs. So, before making a change, weigh the pros and cons. Your chances of success increase when the benefits of adopting a new behaviour outweigh the comforts of staying put. Enjoying the positive aspects of an unhealthy behaviour without actually engaging in it can help too.
Hold yourself accountable by making written or verbal promises to people who matter to you. This commitment can help you push through difficult times. You don’t need to go public like some people do on social media, but making a private promise to a friend, family member, teacher, or colleague can provide essential support. If you want more accountability, consider sharing your commitment online or connecting with like-minded individuals.
Don’t wait until you’ve achieved your ultimate resolutions goal to celebrate. Health changes often happen incrementally. Encourage yourself by acknowledging your successes, both small and significant, along the way. Celebrate reaching milestones, whether it’s dancing to your favourite song after 5,000 steps, receiving praise from a coach or loved one, or joining an online support group.
Learn from your past attempts
Every failed attempt to change is a step towards your goal because it offers valuable lessons. When you encounter obstacles, take a moment to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps you aimed too high? If so, consider scaling back or breaking your resolutions into smaller, more achievable steps. Adapt your approach based on past experiences.
Be grateful for your efforts
Don’t aim for perfection. Focus on completing your journey, not just the destination. Even if you end up walking more than running in your marathon, you’re still a winner for completing it. In various goals, including exercise, doing something is always better than doing nothing. If you planned a 30-minute gym session for Tuesday but only managed 10 minutes, be grateful for that effort – it’s a step in the right direction. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to do better.