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Is your New Year's Resolution already slipping away?

woman with outstretched arms

Stick to your resolutions. It’s worth it!

Our recent posts have provided handy tips to commit to a new routine of fitness and nutrition. Why? Because it’s of course the time of year for New Year’s Resolutions.

Or at least it was. It’s already the first week of February. That means, all things being equal, that many of us will have already decided to hop off the resolution train.

And that’s unfortunate, especially if that resolution did involve fitness and nutrition. Odds are, the best thing you could possibly do for your quality of life and enjoyment of family activities through 2016 is to eat better and exercise.

Over the years, two people have really kept things simple for us when it comes to the discipline required to stay committed.

The first is Chiropractor Dr. Ben Lerner, co-founder of Maximized Living and New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books on living better.

In his words, our commitment at any given time has to be greater than how we are feeling because, obviously, when it’s -20 degrees outside, it’s a lot easier and more comforting to stay on the couch and watch TV.

He also notes that the trap we often fall into is not believing bad things can happen to us. We don’t follow through because we believe heart disease happens to “other people” or we don’t believe that the risks are actually what we are being told they are. But it’s surprising how people change their habits when they get a diagnosis of cancer, or they end up needing open heart surgery.

Another is Chiropractor Dr. Chris Zaino, who says:

“We have discipline when it’s truly something we wanted. Sometimes, we just have to be honest with ourselves… did I really want to lose 20 lbs or did I CHOOSE the comfort of staying on the couch reading my book”… this introspection can be very difficult sometimes…

Many people take their health for granted … thinking that it will always be there … that they don’t have to do anything. Unfortunately, once it is lost, it is often very difficult to get back to where it could have been.

Set attainable goals and keep them to yourself

Dr. Lerner and countless others suggest using the S.M.A.R.T. method – setting goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Maybe having the beach bodies of Jamie or Claire from Outlander is out of reach, but what about cutting a couple pants sizes within the next month or two? That is a reasonable goal that fits all the criteria for SMART.

Another suggestion is to keep your resolutions to yourself.

That may seem counterintuitive – by telling it to other people, aren’t you leaving yourself on the hook to follow through? But piles of research show that the more a person talks about something they are going to do, like run a marathon, the more they get caught up on the idea of doing it, rather than putting in the hard work required to prepare.

The goal becomes their identity and how they want to be perceived by others. This is called social reality. In the age of social media, it’s admittedly problematic for many people.

Keep your resolution staring you in the face

But just because you shouldn’t be telling the world about your resolution doesn’t mean you should avoid reminding yourself on a regular, even daily, basis.

Start with a visual reminder that can be as simple as a sticky note on the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, or on the ceiling over your bed. Another way is with a vision board – a corkboard with pictures, quotes, goals, or whatever else has meaning and relevance that will keep you motivated and focused.

And what is your motivation? Whether it’s to make sure you’re there for your kids, to look better, or feel better, it has to be something that inspires you to act.

It might not always be comfortable, but it will sure be worth it!

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