Are you determined to be counted among the 9.2 percent of people who can pat themselves on the back when 2017 ends, feeling confident and empowered by your ability to achieve your New Year’s resolutions? Needless to say, change is hard. Whether your intention is to start a plant-based diet, commit to a daily mediation practice, or execute posture-perfect yoga poses — the law of averages isn’t on your side.
But don’t beat yourself up – blame the less evolved part of your brain that loves the surge of dopamine that comes from giving in to an urge that feels deliciously, sinfully rewarding.
So how can you fortify your intentions and hold yourself accountable to the new habits you really do want to implement?
Define your triggers.
You know where the emotional land mines lay in your psyche. Make a list of all of the potential people, places, events, and feelings most likely to arouse your stress response and whip up the inner agitation that leads to loss of impulse control. Next to each trigger, write down at least one solution for handling the anxiety without derailing yourself.
Clarify your goals.
Put your goals on paper (or computer), make them specific, and keep them in a highly visible place where you’ll see them often.
Build on small successes.
Set yourself up for long-term victory by achieving small behavioral goals as you go along. “Never eat animal products again” is probably not as effective as eating no beef for the first month, removing fish and chicken the next month, and easing off dairy and eggs in month three. By chunking your resolutions down into smaller, more gradual changes, you feel proud and empowered when you accomplish each one, which fortifies your resolve to keep going.
Progress, not perfection.
If you’re an “all or nothing” personality type, cutting yourself some slack can be a real challenge, but a worthy one. Make this your 2017 mantra: “Anything is better than nothing.” If you can’t sit in meditation for an hour every morning, use the 10 minutes that you do have.
People who share their goals with friends and family are far more likely to succeed. Enlist an “accountability partner” you can check in with on a regular basis. Supportive back-up is extra fortification when self-discipline is weak.
You know the saying: “We make time for what’s important to us.” Make your resolutions a priority, and book them into your calendar. Block out these activities as if they were medical or dental appointments.
Appreciate the good.
Make it a priority in 2017 to get your daily dose of gratitude by acknowledging all of the good around you, and that includes self-appreciation. Focusing on the positive reaps you powerful rewards in every area of your life and well-being.
If you’re ready to reinforce your own commitment to a healthy and balanced lifestyle by empowering others to do the same, PCOM’s acupuncture, massage therapy, or holistic nursing programs are designed with you in mind. We’d love to show you what Pacific College offers.