Happy New Year! We hope your holidays are going well and that you’re transitioning into a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
During the new year celebrations, it’s helpful to take stock of the previous year so you can evaluate how things went and think about whether or not you should make changes for the upcoming year.
What do you want to differently in 2019?
Some people will start living a healthier lifestyle (we’re HUGE fans of doing a round of Whole30 to kick off the new year). Some people will work on financial goals, such as business plans, getting out of debt plans, plans to help save up for something big or plans to live a more frugal lifestyle. Some people will look for ways to become happier and feel more fulfilled. Some will work on letting go of things that need to be let go of. Some people will make goals to try to just help them get through some challenges.
How to Stick to Your Goals
First, make sure your goal makes sense to you and that it’s applicable to your situation. How much time and money do you have to work on your goal? What resources will you need to complete your goals? What steps will you have to take to complete your goal? How much time will it take? Can you break up your goal setting into smaller steps?
As you consider these things, also make sure your goal won’t be overwhelming and cause a lot of extra stress for you. If you make a goal to get more fit, can you get by with going to the gym for 30-60 minutes a day instead of 2-3 hours a day? It’s also important to break goal setting up into measurable steps and tasks. Change doesn’t come instantly and being aware of that will help you to stick to your goals.
Then, write everything down. No matter what your upcoming goals and plans are, what gets written down and planned gets done. And it’s important to have a very concrete idea about what you’re going to implement. As you write down your goal make sure it’s very specific. Include “what, when, where, why and how” into your goal setting, as well as “with who” if that’s applicable.
Healthy lifestyle goals work well if you plan your meals, write out grocery lists, and make time for some exercise. Financial plans work well when you write out your expenses and income and plan your budget so you can put your money exactly where it needs to go (You Need A Budget works well for helping you give each of your dollars a “job”). Every week or few weeks, you can reevaluate your goals to make sure you’re where you need to be and make adjustments if necessary.
Next, replace bad habits with good habits. Often, when we set new goals, we make plans to STOP doing things. For example, when we decide to eat healthy, we might tell ourselves, “I’ll stop drinking soda, eating sugar and drinking dairy.” And then we stick to those goals mightily…until someone at work offers us one of our favorite doughnuts for the 4th day in a row. Instead of saying “no” and sticking to willpower alone, have a replacement for the habits you want to stop. Soda can be replaced by sparkling water. Sugary treats can be replaced with fruit and healthy fat (bananas with almond butter are one of my favorite things to eat when I’m craving sweets). Dairy-full foods can be replaced with nondairy foods. (You can buy almond butter here and non-dairy almond milk here).
If you’ve made a goal to be more frugal and get out of debt, replace expensive date nights at restaurants with delicious, home-cooked meals (which can be as fancy as you want them to be). Or replace your daily coffee at Starbucks with a coffee from home. Take Staycations instead of vacations. More expensive activities can be replaced with lower cost or free activities. If you want ideas for free things to do, look here and here. If you want to find free things to specifically do in your area, many cities also have websites of free events, free museum days and other activities you can have fun doing.
Next, focus on the positives. When you take things out of your life or stop doing things, it can feel like you’re depriving yourself…even if you replace the old habits and things with new habits and things. This is very real. First of all, there are some habits and things that stimulate dopamine in our brains (like cutting refined sugars out of the diet or stopping addictive behaviors). And when we stop doing things that stimulate dopamine, it can really feel like a negative thing!
To counteract the negatives of starting new things, look for the positives. If you’re on Whole30 and you’re missing yummy, delicious treats, think about the how much more energy you have, how much better your skin looks, or how much better your sleep has been. Think about the yummy meals you get to eat while you’re on Whole30! Focusing on the positives might also include you doing an exercise where you imagine what your life will be like when you’ve achieved your goal, or as you make progress. Instead of being sad that you can’t go out to eat as much as you used to, see how happy you’ll be when you pay off a credit card because you were able to save money to put towards paying off debt.
Be moderate in your goal setting. If you’re too strict as you start new goals, it could make things more difficult. If you want to lose weight, break it up into smaller mini-goals instead of expecting to lose a ton of weight in two months. Moderation in goal setting will help you to be more successful, as it takes time to implement lasting changes. And sometimes, being too strict can feel very restrictive and make it harder to achieve your goals. Whenever you need to, reevaluate your goals and make changes if necessary.
The new year is a wonderful way to make positive changes and live a healthier, happier life. You can set goals and achieve them.
And…if you are starting a round of Whole30 and want to save money, make sure you read this post and most importantly, save some money on your next order with Otte Foods by using promo code ‘newyear‘. This discount is good for any of your orders between January 1, 2019 through January 15, 2019. Make sure you take advantage of it so you can stock up on whatever healthy foods, supplements or household items you need.