Happy 2017 everyone!
Dr. Olisa Mak, Naturopathic Physician
I hope that it’s your best year yet. This time of the year is always full of excitement, hope, motivation, and optimism. We’re excited to see how the new year will unfold, to see what surprises might come our way. We’re excited about new beginnings and opportunities. We’re motivated to make changes, to better ourselves. We’re hopeful that the New Year will be a turning point. We’re optimistic that 2017 will be our best year yet.
New Years resolutions are our attempt to achieve all that, a reflection of all that we desire and want for the New Year. With so much hanging in the balance with our New Years Resolutions, what’s the best way to approach your New Years resolutions? Be the best that you can be this year and achieve all your New Years resolutions with these five easy tips.
1) Be specific about what it is that you want to achieve
Increase your chances of success by creating a more specific New Years resolution. Know exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Your New Years resolution should reflect that. For example,
- I want to be healthier this year by learning what foods I should eat more of and what foods I should avoid or eat less.
- I want to be become healthier by working with someone who can help me better understand how my body works and what I need to do to take care of myself.
- I want to exercise more this year by going to the gym two times a week.
- I want to manage my stress better this year by consistently meditating.
More specific New Years resolutions instill direction, and provoke introspective thought on achieving your goals.
Simply saying that “I want to be healthier”, “I want to exercise more”, or “I want to stress less” is vague and not the most useful.
If you want to be healthier, what does that look like? What does being healthier really mean? Does it mean exercising more? Does it mean eating better? Does it mean showing yourself more compassion?
2) Create a plan to help you envision the change that you want to see
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. Once you have a specific New Years resolution in mind, the next step is to create a plan and timeline to implement and achieve your resolution.
Take time to create your plan and timeline. Having a well thought-out plan and timeline could make all the difference. There is no rule to say that you have to start your New Years resolution on January 1st. If it means success rather than failure, take a few days to create a thoughtful plan and timeline.
Some key questions to ask yourself:
- How much time do I need to make this New Years resolution a success? Where is this time coming from?
- What specific days and times can you set aside for achieving this New Years resolution?
- What is my end goal? For example, if you want to lose weight, what is your ideal weight?
- Regular check-ins with yourself are important. How often are you going to check-in with yourself and evaluate how your progress?
- How can you track your progress? If you’re trying to save money – find an app on your phone to help you. Are you trying to decrease the amount of time you spend using your phone? There are apps for that too!
- Are there friends or people in your support network who you can turn to for advice or help? Better yet, anyone else who can commit to achieving the same New Years resolution?
- What obstacles or challenges might arise?
Create a list and an action plan for each challenge that you might encounter. Brainstorm how you will adjust your plan to overcome each challenge! This will help you stick to your New Years resolution!
3) Make it individualized for you
A quick Google search of “New Years Resolutions” reveals website after website of New Years Resolutions. While they provide great sources of inspiration, don’t stop there! Take these examples and make them your own. What works for others may not work for you.
A million people in this world are going to want to lose weight after the holidays and make it a New Years resolution but how is your New Years resolution going to be different? Are you going to start walking to work? How much weight are you trying to lose? What part of your body do you want to lose the weight from? If you’re trying to eat healthier, what foods do YOU need to eat more? Your friend might be trying to eat healthier by eating more fruits. What about you?
4) Tell others! Get others involved
Hold yourself accountable by telling others about what it is that you want to do. Do you want to eat less sugar? Tell your friends and family so that they can do it with you too or help you. Recruit your existing support network to help you succeed. Let your partner know to buy fewer candies, pastries and other sugary foods! Get your support network on board to help remove cravings or reminders of where you might feel like you’re missing out.
5) Achieving New Years resolution success requires constant re-evaluation and adjustments to your plan
Every year I hear people making New Year’s resolutions like “I want to be fitter”, “I’m going to get that six pack” (speaking about abs!), only to hear about people falling off the bandwagon by February. The final key to New Year’s resolution success is to have just enough flexibility and structure to your plan.
Show yourself compassion when you’re finding it difficult to stick to your New Years resolutions. Don’t abandon your whole plan. Simply re-evaluate it, and adjust it.
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble forward” ~ Old Chinese Proverb
Always keep sight of what it is that you want to achieve as you adjust your plan. It might be too much to say that you MUST go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Perhaps simply agreeing that you’ll go to the gym twice a week is enough of a plan. Life is always full of unpredictable surprises – new commitments, situations, obligations, emergencies. Make your New Years resolution plan flexible enough to change as your life does and be honest about what you can do.
Good luck and Happy New Year!
Dr. Olisa Mak is a licensed ND with a general family practice in downtown Vancouver. She has a special interest in bringing awareness to the mind-body connection using homeopathy, botanicals and lifestyle counseling.
She is driven to educate, inspire and empower those around her. Everyone has the potential to achieve their dreams and goals but are often unable to because of their fears, perceptions and circumstances. Dr. Mak strives to work with her patients to remove barriers, empowering patients to seize opportunities and to make the life they want a reality.