We're getting into the reality of the new year...kids are headed back to school, you're back to work if you were lucky enough to get a break, etc. Which means you're probably facing down the list of New Year's resolutions you made in a fit of optimism and wondering "how am I going to do all this?"
My best advice is not to make resolutions at all! There isn't anything magical about the turn of the year that makes it necessary to make big life changes. Certain common resolutions, like starting a workout program, are actually harder at this time of year because I can guarantee you when you go to the gym today there will not be one treadmill or elliptical machine free...they will be filled with everyone else who had the same idea as you! Pretty much every time I have managed a big life change, it's just kind of happened because an opportunity presented itself. For example, I started running again last year because some friends invited me to do a race with them. It's been on my resolution list for several years now, but it took that to really get me started.
Still resolved? Go for it. Here are some tips to help make that resolution stick:
Be realistic. If you're 50 lbs overweight and don't exercise, resolving to have a bikini body by summer is setting yourself up to fail. Instead, resolve to take a 30-minute brisk walk 5 days a week, which is doable.
Make goals concrete. "I'm going to read more books" is vague; "I will log off Facebook an hour earlier every night and read for an hour instead" is specific and achievable...and you should reward yourself when you hit a milestone, like finishing a certain number of books or racking up a certain number of workouts, days of healthy eating, etc.
Don't let setbacks derail you. It happens to everyone: you have to work late and miss a workout, you are caught out at lunchtime with no healthy foods to tide you over so you hit a drive-through, or you just can't bring yourself to do whatever new behavior you want to establish. That's OK, but don't trash your whole plan because you slipped up once. A Weight Watchers leader once told me "You wouldn't take your car to the junkyard because the oil light came on, would you?" so don't let one problem trash all your progress.
What resolutions have you made..and how do you plan to acheive them?