Apparently yesterday was Ditch Your Resolution Day. If you haven’t ditched a resolution or are just working on some type of behavior change and could use a little boost, there are some ways to set up your environment to facilitate your hard work. Some of these may seem obvious (and maybe they are), but sometimes it helps to revisit things you already know.
- Give yourself smarter options. If you’re working toward healthier eating, your behavior change starts in the grocery store. Shop the produce section first, then move on to other sections, and be choosy about what you put in your cart. If you take home fruits and veggies instead of chips and ice cream, you’ve already set yourself up for a healthier snack. Likewise with lunches and snacks during the week. Packing healthy options to take to work makes it easier to reach for them when you need an afternoon snack. I have a much harder time justifying a trip to the vending machine for a sweet treat if I have yogurt and fruit ready at my desk.
- Make a deal with yourself. At one of the offices I work, there are always tempting treats. I don’t know what is so magnetic about a piece of cake, but I can’t seem to resist. However, after checking in with myself, I realized I don’t actually like all cake. In fact, I really could do without the white stuff with sugary icing. It just isn’t satisfying for me. So, I made a deal with myself that I would turn down any treats that weren’t chocolate. Having this rule in place makes it much easier for me to ignore treats that aren’t chocolatey. You also could make a rule about taking the stairs instead of the elevator (for example, you’ll only use the elevator if you have to go up more than two floors) to sneak in extra physical activity.
- Plan ahead. It can be so easy to talk yourself out of going to the gym. I find that packing my gym bag or setting out workout clothes the night before takes away one of the steps I would need to make things happen in the morning and also serves as a visual cue of my commitment. Planning ahead is also helpful for staying on track with a diet in social situations. If you’re meeting friends for dinner/drinks or going to an event where healthy food options may be limited, have a healthy snack before you head out so you won’t be as hungry and will be less likely to indulge later.
- Schedule it. Sometimes life just gets busy, and it becomes difficult to find time for things that we don’t “have” to do. Putting these “non-essential” but vitally important activities in a calendar, as we would with meetings or other obligations, ensures time will be protected in our day for pursuit of our goals. Some gyms allow you to sign up for fitness classes ahead of time. Take advantage of that options that you’ve already committed and scheduled it.It’s also important to schedule time off. Allowing yourself breaks from pursuit of all those worthy goals is a more sustainable option than striving toward something 24/7.
- Find someone to hold you accountable. If you find that you do better with tasks when someone else is counting on you, find a buddy to check in with about your progress toward your goal. Knowing that someone else will be asking you about how you’ve been doing can
guiltmotivate you to stick with it. Meeting up with that person for a fun outing also can be a nice reward for sticking with your plan. Accountability also can be helpful in terms of working out. I know I don’t push myself as much left to my own devices as I do when there’s an instructor or trainer watching over my shoulder. If possible, sign up for fitness classes or personal training sessions to give you a boost toward your fitness goals.
What other strategies do you use to reach your goals?