Did you know? Only eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions successfully achieve them. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, focus on the top three things you want to achieve during the new year. Then, spend the whole month of January creating a realistic plan for action. Implement your plan on February 1st after experimenting with some new health habits during the month of January. Remember that goals for the year may be lifestyle-focused and involve nutrition, exercise, finances, friendships, or a career. Here are some ideas for renewing yourself in the new year.

Create Attainable Goals for the New Year

Start the year with easy, attainable goals in order to set yourself up for success. For example, if your goal is to increase activity through walking, invest in a pedometer (or other type of step counter). First, obtain a baseline for how many steps you take on a typical day. Next, set your goal for the first week to complete 500 steps a day above your baseline. In the second week, set your goal for 750 steps above your baseline and continue for a month before setting a realistic goal for the year.

Exchange a Weight Loss Goal for a New Habit

If weight loss is a goal, start the year by not stepping on the scale for 30 days. Instead, get into the swing of one new health habit. Sometimes, weighing yourself after the holiday season can be discouraging, making the task of getting into shape overwhelming. Here are a few ideas for new health habits; pick ONE:

  • Drink eight ounces of water each day upon rising.
  • Reduce your coffee consumption to three days per week, replacing coffee with herbal or green tea.
  • Eat one salad per day to increase your intake of vegetables.
  • Eliminating grains and starchy carbohydrates for three consecutive days each week is a great way to reduce excess water weight.
  • Avoid eating after dinner.
  • Replace one meal a day with a nutrient-dense smoothie.
  • Instead of making unrealistic, impossible New Year’s goals, resolve to nourish your body and mind with each meal through mindful eating. This means slowing down, paying attention, and savoring your food. This month, try a few simple tips.
  • Sit down to eat with minimal distractions. Turn off the phone, get away from your computer, and spend quality time with your meal.
  • Pay attention to how your food tastes as you chew each bite thoroughly.
  • Eat slowly and stop eating just before you are full.
  • Enjoy treats in moderation, perhaps limiting the amount and frequency. Sometimes, just a bite or two, instead of an entire dessert, is satisfying.

Set Up a Reward System

Set up a reward system to stay motivated. Find enjoyable activities or rewards, such as going to the movies, buying a new workout item, going to a comedy club, or planning a day trip to the mountains or park. If your goal for the new year involves weight loss, be sure that the rewards you choose do not include food but activities that further enhance your motivation.

Stay Motivated

Lastly, apply some Super Bowl coaching techniques to your own game. Here are a few tips from Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Coach Carroll has employed three fundamental tenets throughout his coaching career.

  1. Always be your best. Champions take no aspect of the game for granted and give 110% every time.
  2. Prepare better than anyone else. “If you do the work, you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.” –Michael Jordan.
  3. Cultivate positive energy. Motivate yourself by way of positive reinforcement rather than negativity. Express confidence in yourself.

Happy New Year from Sanoviv Medical Institute.