Updated: Mar 19, 2022
Every year millions of Americans make new year resolutions that last until March if they’re lucky. Lack of #willpower is frequently blamed but often I find patients do not have strategies to help them implement lifelong changes.
DON’T BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW
Before setting goals I always encourage patients to make changes that are doable for them. People can say I’ll never eat sugar or use my credit card again but those are not always realistic goals. So if you’re not ready to go cold turkey be honest with yourself and aim for a reduction in specific behaviors.
SET MEASURABLE GOALS AND CHECKIN REGULARLY
Goals should be measurable; like having an extra 100 dollars in your bank account every month vs “I want to save more money”. This way you can gauge your progress and make changes to your day-to-day habits as needed to help you obtain your goals.
IT’S A PROCESS NOT AN EVENT
Making changes takes time and there will be times when you are not perfect. That is okay, the goal is to start anew because with each failure you are closer to making changes that will help you accomplish your goals.
MODIFY OLD HABITS INSTEAD OF CREATING NEW ONES
An easy way to make changes is to piggyback on other habits. For example, if you walk your dog once a day then - make it twice a day, or try increasing your walk by 10 minutes. This prevents you from feeling overwhelmed with drastic life changes.
HAVE SOMEONE ELSE HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE
It’s best to set your own goals and great if you can stick to them but telling someone else can be beneficial. Even better, find a buddy that has the same goals and supports one another. This allows someone else to help keep you on task as both of you move towards a happier and healthier life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Nicholas Morgan is a naturopathic physician and founder of The Center for Integrative Wellness.