Before the turn of the new year, people reflect on their year and decide what they’d like to change moving forward. It’s typically things like losing weight, saving money, going to the gym more, or just carving out more family time. My resolution every year is to get more organized. I buy a planner – one I swear I will actually use, and by February I’ve lost said planner. Seriously. I get so irritated with myself over it. This year, I have chosen a different approach: small goals in addition to being kinder to myself. The small goal approach is one that has been proven to help with lasting changes.
It sounds simple enough. You might be asking, “Why even write about it at all?” You would be surprised at how difficult it actually is to make lasting changes, especially when it comes to changing eating habits or losing the extra weight you have gained over the years. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what changes need to be made. It might be easier instead to look at the big picture and write down broad changes first, whether it is cutting out processed foods, late-night snacking, thinking about self-care, or getting to the gym more. Then write down small steps to achieve your goals. The key is to make two or three changes every one to two weeks – changes that will fit into your everyday routine.
There is no reason to make dramatic changes that are abandoned in a week or so. To make lasting changes, you need to move in small increments. For example, if you want to eliminate processed foods, you wouldn’t jump straight into it without a plan. The small goals might be replacing two different processed items with whole food alternatives. If you start with two or so items a week, you’ll soon have implemented lasting changes. If going to the grocery store proves to be a challenge, there are plenty of stores that have “drive-up” alternatives or free delivery. Personally, I can make poor choices when left to myself with a Starbucks in hand (review the 80/20 rule!!). It can sometimes feel like a mini vacation when I’m at the store alone!
Most changes do take planning and a certain amount of commitment. I’ll never tell anyone that it is easy to make changes to lifetime habits. What I will tell you is that it will absolutely be worth it. Eating nutritious foods isn’t difficult, but it does take planning. My whole goal is to help people understand that nutrition is not hard and really is easy to do once you get the hang of it. That’s where it comes full circle in mentioning the small changes! Small changes lead to big results and if you are having trouble finding your goals or coming up with ideas for small changes that last, Physician’s Weight Control & Wellness Center and I are here to help you.
I’m personally not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They never last. BUT goals and small changes DO last and are what I advocate. It’s not 2020 just yet, but taking the next week to really look at the changes you want to make has its perks! You can be more thoughtful and head into the new decade with a plan – a plan with small steps to achieve lasting results. Remember we are here to help you achieve lasting results, so just ask if you get stuck. Happy New Year!