The New Year is here, and that means you have the opportunity to renew your health vows – to yourself.
Of course, the problem is, that’s hard to do!
Habits are the hardest thing to make. Consider that to make a new habit, it may take you a month of steady work every single day – and that’s just to adopt a habit. Keeping that habit is like using a different muscle than you’re used to. And the worst part is that it hurts.
The problem is a good time never lasts, and after the excitement of a new resolution wears off, we’re left with our same old selves now carrying a load it’s easier to do without. That’s the difficulty we have in changing almost anything and it leads many people to ignore New Years’ resolutions altogether.
To make them successful, you must put together a plan.
So here is the first health tip, which isn’t so much about health, as habit.
1. Make a list of your goals. Whatever you’d like to do, write it down, brainstorm and think of your wildest dreams. Whether it’s to get a new gym membership, or to stop eating a quart of ice cream each night, use the excitement of the new year to spur your pen, and make your health focused wish list.
Don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor about the best ways to help your health in 2015. They have many holistic ideas they can tailor for your unique situation, no matter what health challenges you’re facing.
2. Pick one goal. Go through your list, and feel out which of the points you’re the most excited about. That excitement can carry you through the low moments when you’re feeling boredom and despair about the habit you’ve taken on, which you’re sure to experience sooner or later.
3. Hack your goal. Now with the most exciting goal in hand – think of a way to make it smaller. It’s too big. And even if you think it’s the perfect size, it’s not. Right now you’re actually excited by it. Next month you won’t be. Next month you’ll hate it, and wish that you’d never picked it up at all.
So right now, before the bad times when resolutions die, take your goal and make it tiny and so easy that it barely seems like a challenge at all. If you want to stop eating a quart of ice cream every night – don’t stop. Instead, decide you’ll eat one spoonful less. That you can do – even when you don’t want to do it.
Skipping this step is why resolutions fail. And also by ignoring our next point.
4. Make a chart. As you begin your new habit, every day, keep a chart or a calendar that you check after you’ve completed your goal for the day. If you don’t do it on any day, you miss a check for that day.
Doing this everyday isn’t the challenge. That’s because it doesn’t matter if you miss a check about ice cream.
It matters much more if you don’t look at the chart.
One way to make sure that you look at the chart every day is to include another check, which is a check that you’ve looked at the chart.
So now you’ve got two checks. One check about eating a spoon less of ice cream every day. And another check that shows that you’ve looked at your chart every day.
The secret to keeping your habit is this: The only failure is failing to check the chart.
5. Check it for 3 months. Keep checking your chart for three months, and you’ll have the benefit of seeing how much will power you actually have regarding your spoonful of ice cream. With such a small goal – you’ll probably keep it.
And if you keep if off and on for three months, you’ll make enough impact in your personality to remember it forever.
But if that doesn’t work, try it for another three months. Or a year. And when it’s part of you, go on checking for another month or so, and then let go.
Because it will be you.