Stay the Course When Resolve Dissolves

The holiday decorations are down. Family and friends have returned to their homes. The leftovers are long gone. And truthfully, so is the euphoria of a New Year as January comes to a close and we settle into our usual routines. If you were part of the 45 percent (according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology) of the population that made New Year's resolutions, your commitment may be waning. Let's talk about strategies to boost your determination to reach those goals!

  1. Identify Barriers
    You know your goals and why they are important to you. So what is keeping you—or may, in the future, keep you—from reaching them? Is it time? More buy-in from family? Are you surrounded by too much temptation? Take time to think about obstacles that you've already encountered and ones that may pop up. Be honest and thorough to increase your success rate for accomplishing your goals.
  2. Keep it Simple!
    Now that you've identified possible barriers to success, it's time to work through solutions. When thinking of solutions, be realistic. When setting a goal, I recommend using the "SMART Framework": Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. And when working through ideas for breaking through barriers, I use the "KIS Principle": Keep It Simple. Don't over-think or create elaborate plans that will become stressful themselves. Your plan to overcome challenges should require the minimum effort. You want to focus on your energy on reaching your health goals!
  3. Practice Kindness
    If you are still struggling to stay on track, it may be time to evaluate the goal itself. Take time to review your health goals and actions plans. Be sure that you've created realistic goals and time frames. This step will not only help you stay on track but will also help you avoid the all or nothing mentality that can sabotage progress.

You want to challenge yourself while ensuring that you honor the parts of your life that may not be ready for drastic changes. Remember, these are lifestyle strategies. You want to build a solid foundation for the long haul! So tell me: How do you stay on track when your motivation begins to fade?


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Kareen Turner
Kareen Turner, MPH, RD, is the director of food and nutrition services at Loma Linda University Medical Center – Murrieta and founder of Watch her YouTube video series, "12 Days to Abundant & Vibrant Living in 2013," and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.