Forget Making New Year’s Resolutions; Make Lifelong Changes Instead

    In theory, New Year’s resolutions are great. Everyone should all try to better ourselves as they go forward in life. In reality, however, these well-meaning goals set most people up for failure.

    Out of the 40 percent of Americans who make resolutions every year, only eight percent will succeed and carry their resolution out the entire year.

    AmyThe top resolutions are health and wellness related, whether that’s losing weight, eating better or exercising more. And oftentimes with these types of resolutions, we set ourselves up for failure, says Amy Ritsema, co-founder of OnSite Wellness.

    Ritsema graduated from Hope College with a degree in Exercise Science and has been working in Corporate Wellness for more than 25 years. She cofounded OnSite Wellness in 2006 and continues to enjoy helping organizations bring wellness programs to their employees. As a Certified Worksite Wellness Program Consultant, she spends most of her workdays designing, developing and implementing wellness programs that fit the needs of each individual organization.

    To truly succeed at a wellness-related resolution, Ritsema says it is important to make small changes to your lifestyle throughout the year. Health is never a quick fix, it’s a combination of the choices you make every day – from what you put into your body to how you stay active.

    If your resolution is wellness related, following these tips will help get you to that eight percent of completed resolutions.

    Make sure you enjoy what you are doing: Wellness shouldn’t be a chore. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re not going to stick with it. This doesn’t just apply to exercising, but to all aspects of health. You’re not going to eat a well-balanced diet if you only focus on the foods you don’t like. Use the year’s fresh start to discover what you enjoy. Try out new foods and recipes. Take different exercise classes. Learn what helps you to destress after a long day. When you find something you really love, incorporate it into your lifestyle.

    logoFind someone who will keep you accountable: It’s possible to achieve these goals on your own, but having someone to keep you accountable gives you that extra push. It’s easy to make excuses to yourself for missing a workout or ordering fast food for lunch, but having an extra set of eyes on your actions challenges you in a whole new way.

    Embrace ‘SMART’ goal setting: Accomplishing large goals take time and effort. It’s not going to happen right away. For when those big goals seem so far away, create ‘SMART’ goals to hit along the way:

    • S – Specific
    • M – Measurable
    • A – Attainable
    • R – Relevant
    • T – Timely

    Your goal may be to lose 25 pounds, but with ‘SMART’ goal setting, your goal could be, “I am going to lose 25 pounds throughout the year by being active four times a week, joining a weight-loss program, completing weekly weigh-ins, and journaling twice a week to monitor my attitude and track my overall progress.” You may have not reached the big goal yet, but you’re going to hit a bunch of great milestones along the way. You might as well embrace them.

    Care for yourself: Self-care is so important to any kind of goal. If you’re not taking care of yourself along the way, sooner or later you’re going to break down or give up. Make sure your basic needs are met. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you taking time to yourself to unwind? How are you handling stress? Look inward and ask what you can do for yourself to be more rested, more positive and more motivated. Then go out and do those things.