By February, nearly 80 percent of Americans will give up on their New Year’s resolutions, but Tomeka Flowers, a Houston Methodist behavioral development coordinator and certified lifestyle coach, says making a few simple changes can help people reach their goals.
“The majority of New Year’s resolutions are about getting healthy—eating better, drinking more water, and exercising regularly,” said Flowers. “Unfortunately, most people have this idea of what getting healthy looks like, and they’ll give up on their goals when they don’t live up to that ideal.”
To be successful in sticking with your resolutions, Flowers recommends:
1. Eliminate the all or nothing approach. At the start of a new year, people place an unrealistic amount of pressure on themselves to be perfect in meeting their goals. This quickly leads to burnout, and one bad day causes them to throw in the towel. Flowers recommends starting with one healthy habit to focus on for four to six weeks. Once that has truly become a habit, you’ll be able to focus on adding another healthy habit to your routine.
2. Conduct a wellness inventory. Flowers said too many people dive into their resolutions based on what has been successful for others instead of assessing what they are good at doing.
“Just because your friend lost weight by running on a treadmill four days a week doesn’t mean that’s the best plan for you,” Flowers said. “Maybe you hate running inside or need a group class to help you stay accountable. Think about what you are good at or what you enjoy and build your plan to get healthy around that.”
3. Get healthy for free. Many people believe that getting healthy means joining a weight loss program or going to the gym once a day and then will give up on their goals when the costs for special food or memberships gets too expensive.
“It’s so important to remember that it doesn’t cost any money to get healthy,” Flowers said. “Walking in the park or around your neighborhood is free, and it’s very easy to cook healthy meals at home on a budget. There are even free apps that provide exercise tips and healthy recipes while helping you stay motivated to reach your goals.”
Flowers adds that being healthy is a lifelong journey, not a short sprint at the beginning of a new year.
“Just as life has its ups and downs, so will your road to becoming the best version of you,” Flowers said. “An essential part of the process is being kind to yourself by allowing time to learn and grow so that you’ll create changes now that will last a lifetime.”
This article was adapted from information provided by Houston Methodist.