Each new year brings wonderful new opportunities to become stronger, happier, healthier or more organized, and to enjoy greater peace of mind. After 2020, many of us are reexamining our priorities—especially the role that stress plays in our lives—and many are including emotional self-care among our 2021 resolutions. Other popular resolutions include losing weight/better nutrition, making better financial decisions and spending quality time with family and friends.
Now that you’ve made your resolutions, here are a few tips to help you stick with them. No matter what goals you’ve set, planning to achieve them gives you the best chance to succeed.
Start with what you know. Nothing sabotages progress like doing something new too often, too long or too quickly. No matter the resolution, start with something familiar. For example: If you want to eat healthier, just start by eating more of what you already like. Instead of a meal with steak, fries and Brussels sprouts, nix the spuds and load up on those mini-cabbages. No need to try every trendy dish on the market.
Pick one goal a month. Laundry lists don’t work well with resolutions. While you may want to accomplish 10 things this year, you don’t have to attack all of them in January. Since most of us leave our resolutions behind by mid-February, think about starting something new each month, or even each season. The annual time changes are great starting and ending points too. For example, a lot of people engage in outdoor sports (such as bike riding) only during daylight saving time. Then they switch to indoor activities (such as walking on a treadmill). Put the two together and you have a great year-round fitness routine!
Break down goals. If you want to lose 20% of your body weight, start with a monthly mini-goal. If you want to learn to meditate (which is great for helping elevate a sense of control over anxiety), start with just one minute a day. Every week or so, add another minute. Eventually you can get up to five-minute increments and even build to 30 minutes a day.
Get an accountability partner. Remember being told to hold hands when you cross the street? Same principle (but don’t actually hold hands these days). Find someone with a similar goal and work together to achieve it. You don’t have to do everything together, but be sure to share your progress with each other. You’ll be surprised how much more motivated you’ll be when you know you have to report on it. You and your accountability partner can also help each other “reset” when you backslide periodically (which you will, and that’s OK too).
Use apps. Calorie counting? Building up from walking to running a 5K? Yeah, there’s an app for that. Meditation. Yoga. Cleaning and organizing your house. Tracking expenses. Whatever it is, go to your app store and search for it. You can even find accountability partnership apps and programs! Try out a few free apps and decide which work best for you. You can always upgrade to paid features later.
Speaking of apps, add “download the Teladoc app” to your list of resolutions. It syncs with health apps such as the Kinsa thermometer and Apple Health.
Make it convenient. Incorporating a resolution into your everyday routine is one of the easiest ways to stick to it. Here’s a wild idea: If you like to exercise, try wearing your workout clothes to bed! Put your sneakers in the bathroom and your breakfast snacks in a bag by your keys. When you wake up, you’re ready to go!
Keep your goals in front of you. Sticky notes! Everywhere! If you’re looking to lose weight, try this sneaky tip: Write your goal weight on a sticky note and place it over the readout on your scale. Now go ahead and step on the scale every morning. But instead of seeing where you’re at, you’ll see where you’re going, which can help keep you motivated. (Peak under the note once a week to check your progress.)
Want to save money or improve your credit score? Write the goal with a big green marker on a small envelope, put your debit/credit cards inside, and tie a string around the envelope. The time you’ll need to untie the string will give you one last chance to reconsider the purchase you want to make.
Stay safe! Now that we’re in the peak season for flu and COVID-19, make sure to protect yourself. Wear your mask when you’re outside your personal “bubble,” be extra mindful about washing your hands, practice safe distancing, get your flu shot if you haven’t done this already and be sure to sanitize any equipment that you’re sharing with others.
Talk to Teladoc. If you want help with your nutrition goals, our registered dietitians can help you set and achieve them. And our U.S.-licensed therapists can work with you to manage stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
Your doctors at Teladoc wish you a healthy and happy new year!
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