Defining New and Healthier Habits
Defining New and Healthier Habits

So you are now two weeks into your New Year’s Resolution, how are you doing? The first couple of weeks of defining new and healthier habits can be tough. You are forming new habits and replacing the old ones. In the first two weeks you are motivated to make changes and excited to start unveiling the new you.

After two weeks, this modified behavior begins to wear on your nerves. So here are some ideas to keep you focused on your goals. Think of it as a SearchAmelia pep talk!

Break down Your Goals: If you find your initial goal was too large, it is perfectly okay to break it down into manageable sizes. I have mentioned this before. Losing ten pounds by Valentines Day is easier than losing 50 pounds by next Christmas. Lose the ten pounds, pat yourself on the back, buy a new pair of shoes and tackle the next ten pounds by setting another realistic goal.

Stay Away from Sabotage: So you have lost four pounds in the first two weeks of 2010 and you excitedly tell your sister. Then your sister invites to over for lasagna and tiramisu. This is sabotage. Trying to quit smoking? Don’t get into the car with a smoker just yet. Did you make a commitment to yourself to drink less alcohol?  Then avoid poker night with the “gang”. Stepping away from the familiar surroundings that you associate with an undesired behavior is the best way to ease the cravings. Most resolutions made at the turn of a new year involve behavior modification. Because you are only two weeks into this new and chosen lifestyle, you are not ready to be confronted with an attack on your senses.

Find Encouragement: Find encouragement anywhere you can get it. Go to a support group meeting in your hometown or look up a support group online. Find someone you know who is sharing the same goal and work together. Misery loves company. Find someone and struggle together. Keep each other accountable for your individual progress. If you are cutting back on your spending, don’t plan lunch out with a friend who loves to go shopping; plan a picnic lunch at a public park instead.

Track Your Progress: Write in a journal or keep a diary of your progress. Tracking the emotional connection to behaviors you want to change will give you the ammunition needed to win your battle. For example: If you crave a cigarette right after your meal, then you will know to carry gum or go brush your teeth after eating to help lessen the cravings. Another example would be if you sit in front of the television every night after dinner and you want to lose weight. Plan for a walk after dinner, or play an interactive video game such as Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution. You could fold clothes or mop the floor. Just about any activity is more activity than sitting in front of the television or computer. I have tried for years to get my husband to replace our sofa with the exercise bike or a treadmill, “Then Honey, I can watch all of the television I want.”

Reward Your Accomplishments: If you have reached your minor goals reward yourself. You will never stick to any plan, no matter how well intended, if you never reap the benefits. Remember not to sabotage yourself. If you have lost ten pounds, don’t reward yourself with food. If you have not smoked for a week, don’t reward yourself with a cigarette. If you have lowered your consumption of alcohol, don’t have a drink to celebrate. Your vice should NEVER be the reward. If you have lost weight buy yourself new under garments that make you feel sexier. If you have quit smoking, get your teeth whitened. If you have cut back on your drinking reward yourself with a small gift to yourself.

Don’t Quit Because of a Set Back: It is easy to fall off of the wagon, simply get back on. Sure your ego may feel beaten and bruised, but as they say, “Brush yourself off and start all over again.”

Stay focused on your goals and you can stay on track with these and other motivational tools. Good luck and keep up the good work!

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