Lose 50 pounds. Go to the gym every day. Quit smoking.
All of these goals are terrific, but few of us will actually be successful. Why? Usually, it’s because we make the list too long, and fill the list with ambitions that are, well, too ambitious. Most of our New Year’s resolutions require enormous changes to our daily routine.
So, here’s a tip for greater success: Set your sights on smaller achievements, then give yourself a hand when you reach milestones on the way to your goal.
Take weight loss, for example.
Map out a plan for 20 pounds, not 50. Think about what you eat – or drink – during the day and see where you could cut out 200 calories. Maybe it’s that 20 oz. bottle of soda. Or the chocolate chip cookie you regularly get with your Subway sandwich. If you change the soda to water or skip the cookie, you’ll be cutting out around 200 calories each day. And guess what – at the end of 2023, you will weigh 20 pounds less!
What about exercise?
Going to the gym might be just what you need to get and stay active. But if that sounds too hard, just add a 15-minute walk per day. You don’t have to travel to do that, it doesn’t cost anything and by the end of the year, you will have walked an extra 365 MILES.
Disassociate your bad choices from your regular routine. You know what they are, right? Wean yourself off that daily chocolate chip cookie by saying no today. Then say no tomorrow. Disassociate snacks from the triggers. Are you going to have a sandwich or a cookie? Make a rule that you can’t do both. Are you going to watch the football game or have potato chips? Are you going to have the burger or the fries?
Small changes – maintained and built upon – are the secret to better health over time.