By Betty Murray
Making New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition in cultures around the world. Nearly 40 percent of all Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year. But where did the tradition begin?
“The practice of making resolutions for the New Year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot.” (history.com)
There are pros and cons to making a New Year’s Resolution.
• For many people, making a New Year’s Resolution helps them clear their mind and focus on what’s ahead, rather than what’s behind them.
• New Year’s Resolutions give people the opportunity to set a goal and strive to improve their lives.
• New Year’s Resolutions can inspire positive changes in attitude, lifestyle, and habits.
• When set appropriately, New Year’s Resolutions can give someone a clear plan to achieve a specific goal.
• New Year’s Resolutions are often lofty and unrealistic lacking direction and clear steps to achieve those goals.
• Most people break their resolution by the end of January.
• Only about 8 percent of Americans who make a New Year’s Resolution will keep it through the end of the year.
• Breaking a New Year’s Resolution may leave a person feeling inadequate or like a failure.
Did you make a resolution this year? How can you keep your resolution and ensure a successful year? Here are a few tips:
• Set realistic, specific, and measurable goals. Rather than saying “I want to exercise more,” decide how many days each week you will commit to exercising. For example “I will exercise three days a week.”
• Don’t just set a goal, give yourself a clear plan of action. Write down your goal and map out a specific plan to reach it. If you want to lose 20lbs this year, what are the steps you are going to take to achieve that goal? What changes will you make in your diet? How often will you exercise? Who will you ask to hold you accountable?
• Get support. Find a friend or family member you can trust to support you along the way. Check in with them occasionally to let them know how you’re doing and discuss your progress.
• Change your thinking. We operate in a stressful society. How can you change your thinking to be more positive? Reduce your stress with meditation and deep breathing.
• Remember, bad days happen to the best of us. Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day. Instead, set your mind to try again tomorrow. One stumble doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your end goal. In fact, you will probably stumble multiple times along the way. It’s in persistence and endurance that we find success.
• Celebrate the small victories along the way. Give yourself time to feel satisfaction in the small milestones you reach along the way to achieving your end goal.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals