It’s that time of year again: The tables are laden with food, the air is thick with reflection and you may be tempted to make a New Year’s resolution or two.
Lose weight, reduce your sugar consumption, exercise more — they’re noble goals to start the year, but the reality is most people give up on such resolutions by February.
“We are not in the business of resolution-building and keeping, because we know that fails most of the time,” says Tricia Harrison, health and wellness director at the Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach.
Tidelands Health is the exclusive health system partner of the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, including Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health Pawleys Family YMCA and Tidelands Health Georgetown Family YMCA. Together, the two organizations are providing the community with access to a broad variety of services and programs to improve health and wellness.
Waking up on New Year’s Day and changing everything about your life is generally not going to work, Harrison says. Vague or overly ambitious resolutions can be difficult to achieve or sustain. Instead, it’s best to make small, mindful modifications that are relatively easy to accomplish that you can build upon incrementally going forward.
“We’re trying to create lifestyle changes,” Harrison says.
As you’re reflecting on how you want your life to look in the upcoming year, here are three tips to help you achieve your goals:
1. Start small
Big swings can translate into big misses. Try to break your goals into bite-sized pieces when it comes to changing your health. Rather than resolving to lose 50 pounds, begin to introduce changes like eating out less, drinking a specific amount of water per day or getting active for at least 30 minutes a day. Think of your health holistically and tweak your routine incrementally rather than throwing it out or changing it completely.
2. Find accountability
When even small changes feel impossible, it can help to have a support system that you can share wins and losses with.
Try inviting a friend or family member to join you or finding a like-minded community. For example, the YMCA of Coastal Carolina is launching a 90-day healthy habit challenge in January designed to help keep you motivated as you build sustainable habits. You could also try taking a workout class or joining a group on social media where people share tips and progress. Having someone to answer to can help keep you working toward positive changes.
3. Be kind to yourself
Holding yourself to an inflexible routine and beating yourself up if you deviate is a quick way to become frustrated and lose your motivation. Have some compassion for yourself as you commit and recommit to making changes.
“If you mess up and you go through a fast-food drive-thru and you have a binge day, get right back on track,” Harrison says. “You can start that hour, that day. Today is a new day. Reset.”