New Year’s resolutions are an age-old tradition that can help boost motivation for creating new, or refreshing stalled, health habits. Maybe this year, you commited (again!) to losing extra weight, getting more sleep, upping your exercise routine or cultivating a meditation practice. Yet despite your good intentions, you find yourself losing sight of your goals or making excuses not to follow through when life gets busy. You are not alone. According to the US News & World Report, roughly 80% of New Years resolutions fail by mid-February. So how can we truly increase the likelihood of sticking to our resolutions and making the changes we need to feel more vital and healthy?
Dr. Meghan Kemnec has insights based on her experience working with hundreds of patients wanting to make behavior changes to improve their health. Here are Dr. Kemnec’s key strategies to making your wellness resolutions stick all year long:
Get clear on your “WHY”. General goals like “losing weight” or “learning to meditate” do not get to the root of your motivation for change. Instead of simply stating the outcome you want, dig deeper to find the emotional reason you want it. For example, you may want to lose weight so you have more energy to play and have fun with your kids. You would like to learn to meditate in order to feel less anxiety and more confidence in social situations. Focus on the emotions behind the behavioral goal and you will be more likely to stick to your resolutions.
Recruit a friend, family member or partner to support and keep you accountable to your goals. It’s easier to brush off or procrastinate our resolutions when we aren’t being held accountable. Having a support system is often the missing piece you need to keep pushing on when you start to make excuses or want to give up. Find someone in your life who will cheer you on and keep you inspired to reach your goals now matter what. And you can rely on your health practitioner to keep you on track as well!
Boost motivation and energy with food and supplements. What we eat affects our mood, energy and motivation and will often make the difference when it comes to reaching our health goals. Take the time to eat meals that include colorful fruits and veggies like bell peppers, kale, carrots and berries for vitamins and phytonutrients and nourishing, healthy fats like wild salmon and avocado for omega-3’s, to keep sustained energy and focus. You can also supplement with a high quality B-complex for extra mood, energy and immune support.
Uplift with some daily sunshine! During these darker and more cloudy winter months, it’s common to feel less motivated and even a little blue. A quick way to combat that feeling and boost your mood is to get outdoors in the sunlight. All it takes is 15-20 minutes to feel a lift in your mood and energy, so go for a brisk walk outside at lunch time or sit outside in the sunshine during a break in your day. And if you find it challenging to get outdoors, taking a quality Vitamin D supplement (preferably with K2) may also enhance your energy and mood to keep you on track with your health goals!
Dr. Kemnec and the Peninsula Integrative team encourage you to follow these suggestions to help you refresh your motivation and keep you inspired throughout the year!