How to Motivate Change and Break Bad Habits
It is common for the momentum of New Years resolutions to start to dwindle and fall to the back burner. Here are some ways to help you revisit your resolutions and goals, modifying them slightly, to bring new life to your goals. Keep reading to learn how to break bad habits and accomplish long-term, sustainable changes.
How to set the right kind of goals for healthy changes
Take time to develop your goal and then devise a specific plan to accomplish it. When designing your goal and plan, it's essential to keep the following points in mind:
Make your goal specific
Having a detailed goal will help you accomplish it. For example, say you want to exercise more. Write down what type of exercise you will do, on which days, what time of day, and for how long. Next schedule it in, just like you would a doctor’s appointment or a special event. Your special, don’t you deserve time to sweat and let off some steam!
Make your goal realistic and achievable
Small steps are the ones that lead to lasting change. If your goal is unrealistic, you will be set up for failure, and your forward progress will likely stall. Make your goal small, so you can successfully accomplish it, and then develop a new goal from there.
TIP: After you have your goal and plan, ask yourself: “How confident am I that I can accomplish this?” Modify as needed until you feel sure you will succeed! Give yourself a grade! Did you get an A, B, C or D for this goal at the end of the month? Didn’t get the grade you want, re-set your goal and try again!
Include a time-frame
Give yourself a time-frame within which you want to accomplish your goal. Having a specific deadline will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to it. Check in! Use calendar reminders and visual cues – like post it notes, timers etc. Everyone needs a little memory boost!
Pick a goal that matters to you
Focusing on changes that matter to you is important. Think about one area in your life where you most want to make changes, and focus on that first. Remind yourself, that your worth it! That the goal serves you feeling your best.
Use peer pressure to your advantage
You don’t need to be on this journey to improve your health alone! Seek out the support of friends and family. Not only will you be more likely to stick to your goals if you have an accountability buddy and the support of those around you, but your friends and family will improve their health as well!
Use your environment to your advantage
Don’t forget the power of your environment. If your surroundings are set up to make your health goals easier, you will be more likely to succeed. This can be as simple as packing your gym bag the night before, so it's ready to grab when you're in a rush in the morning, or meal-prepping on Sunday, so you have healthy lunches later in the week. Or, perhaps it’s not buying those less healthy snack foods that you know you will finish all in one sitting once they’re in the house. Be strategic. Think about the elements of your environment that are hindering your health goals, and then make changes in your environment to set you up for success. Make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Celebrate your accomplishments
As you accomplish your goals, celebrate your hard work and dedication with a reward! Do something you find enjoyable. You’ll have something to look forward to, and you deserve some self-love! Tip: Plan out what your reward will be ahead of time, be it a date night with your partner, a night out with some friends, a massage or spa day, or a morning where you can stay home and read your favorite book. Choose something that YOU love and don’t always make time for.
Keep the momentum going
After accomplishing your goal, don't stop there! After celebrating your success, come up with a new goal, following the same guidelines as above. Keep with those positive changes!
Be kind to yourself
When it comes to making changes, it is common for people to come across barriers, challenges, and roadblocks. If this happens to you, know that you’re not alone! It’s okay if you’re not perfect. Use any obstacles that arise as an opportunity to grow and learn. You may need to change your goal, and that’s totally okay. Take each day one at a time, and know that even if things are challenging, doing your best is enough.
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