Sticking to New Year’s resolutions isn’t always easy, especially when they have to do with changing your lifestyle and personal wellness — but you don’t have to go it alone. Keep on track with these 7 tips for being your best self in the New Year.
Health and well-being are at the top of most resolution lists at the start of the New Year. As we commit to bringing in good habits, and breaking the bad ones, it helps to have a little guidance. So whether you want to stop smoking, reduce stress, or just want to feel good when looking in the mirror, here are 7 useful tips to help keep on track through the New Year.
There’s an App for That
Keeping track of your daily habits is a great way to stay accountable day-to-day to your long-term goals. The University of Texas Health Science Center found that patients were more likely to follow their weight loss plan when using a smartphone app than when using a website or paper diary to track their diets.
Here are 4 apps that can help you achieve your goals all from the comfort of your couch:
- MyFitnessPal app for iOS and Android– Looking to count calories but not spend too much time doing so? With a searchable food database of over 294,474,000 items, this app allows you to easily log and track meals wherever you are when you eat them.
- Strides app for iOS– This New York Times recommended goal-tracking app allows you to track any goal or habit you can think of and easily see your streak.
- Coach.me app for iOS and Android– For those who need more guidance, not only does this app let you track goals, it offers step-by-step instructions from coaches on how to achieve them.
- StickK for iOS and Android– If you’re looking to raise the stakes with your goal setting, this app is for you. StickK makes you sign a Commitment Contract to stick to your goals and financially penalizes you if you don’t.
Shout it Out Loud
Though the thought of sharing your goals with other people may sound terrifying, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and courageous will actually improve your chances of achieving success. According to a study on accountability by The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), they found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone.
Grab a fellow resolution buddy to be your accountability partner. It’s much easier to lie to yourself than to lie to a friend. Set a weekly date in person, on the phone, or through email, to check in and discuss progress. When you know someone else is counting on you, you’re much more likely to push yourself even further. Plus, if you fall (and let’s be honest, sometimes you will), it’s nice to have a helping hand to pick you back up again.
When mapping out your goals, permit yourself to think on both micro and macro levels. Exercising might help you fit into that old pair of jeans, which is a fine goal in itself, but according to the CDC, physical activity can have even more long-term effects, from improving your well-being to lengthening your lifespan. Remind yourself to think about the big picture when the couch is looking cozier than the treadmill.
To do lists are easy to make and it feels great to check accomplishments off your lists. Make sure you’re distinguishing between goals and to-do-list actions. “Buy a new frame for the living room” is an easily achievable to-do list item, but it’s not a goal. If you can go out and do something like buy a frame, it’s probably not a goal. When setting goals, make sure to aim high and allow yourself to dig deep into what you want. Don’t take the easy way out by ignoring what you really want to do. As Brian Tracy, public speaker and self-development author said, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”
Sticking to your resolutions is a process where consistency is key. There will be smaller goals along the way to the ultimate one, like floors in a fancy building leading up to the penthouse suite. When you stop at these intermediate floors, reward yourself with something you like to do separate from your goals.
Giving yourself something to look forward to will increase your motivation to achieve your goals when you’re feeling unmotivated or frustrated. Your reward shouldn’t derail your goals or the habits you’ve done a great job setting for yourself. If you’re trying to lose 50 pounds, think twice about patting yourself on the back for a job well done with a trip to the local ice cream shop.
LifeHacker presents an even more radical thought: rewarding yourself at the start of a difficult task so that you go into the work with a positive attitude. Trying to exercise more? Buy yourself a new workout outfit, so you feel confident when you spy yourself in the mirror at the gym. Rewarding yourself before achieving your task can even increase your motivation to reach a deadline. Wanting to become fluent in Spanish? Purchase that ticket to Spain for next year and circle the date in your calendar, so you know you’ll be ready.
Either way, if you treat yourself, you’ll be happy in your efforts — which is what resolutions are often about.
Write It Out
While telling others about your plans might seem scary, clearly articulating your goals to yourself can be a major first step in actually meeting them. University of Scranton researchers found that people who make specific resolutions are 10 times more likely to meet their goals than people who don’t, while NPR reports that “self-authoring” has been shown to narrow achievement gaps in higher education.
Just by writing out their plan to succeed, students were able to do better on tests — so apply that same process to your own goals to overcome your challenges.
To everything, there is a season, and that season may not start on January 1st. Is your goal to run a marathon? Sure, you can train some indoors on a treadmill — but immediately logging major mileage outdoors in the cold and snow is probably not a good plan for most people. While the New Year often leaves people with a do or die attitude, timing can make all the difference in whether or not you stay on track to success.
You don’t have to accomplish everything you’ve ever dreamed of in the first month of the New Year. Remember, something is better than nothing. If you can wake up one hour earlier, go to one more yoga class a week, or run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, you’re already doing it. Don’t let huge goals or the pressure to achieve them stand in your way. Any effort towards achieving what you set out to do is better than no effort. January is the time to start making new habits, and if you’re not perfect, you’ve got 11 more months to work on it.
As the American Psychological Association says, “The New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.”
A New Year’s resolution is a journey, not a destination. While that marathon may be in your sights, cut yourself some slack if you only make it a mile or two after a long day at work. In fact, Runner’s World advises following the 10-percent rule: never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent from one to the next. Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself from overuse. Not a runner? The rule can still apply anywhere: increase your workload gradually and respect your limits.
To take the best care of yourself on the journey to becoming the best you, having great health care is essential. Thankfully, SingleCare can give you access to many excellent physicians and great prices, regardless of whether or not you have insurance. SingleCare offers savings on prescriptions, dental, vision, and on-demand virtual doctor visits. Members are able to compare costs for healthcare services and get care without worrying about networks, coverage limitations, or deductibles. SingleCare provides easy access to care, so you can focus on achieving your goals instead of focusing on how to find your prescription. By saving time and money with SingleCare on your side, you can feel free to use that extra time to pursue your resolutions to their fullest.
With a pay-as-you-go structure with no surprise costs for members and a wide network of healthcare professionals, you’ll be sure to be at your healthiest on your path to becoming the best version of you.
NOTE: SingleCare is not affiliated with the apps mentioned in this article, and the above is not intended to act as an endorsement. Please do your diligence before using products and services not associated with SingleCare.