We’re half way through January with the gyms packed and people eating healthier than ever before. But we’re only two weeks into January and many people will drop their New Year’s  Here are some of my time-tested tips for a fantastic approach to nailing your 2019 resolutions .

Make a Short List

What is most important to you? What do you want to do more of in 2019? What is one major vice you would like to get rid of this year? Which human relationships do you want to nurture the most this year?

As a kid I used to list out 20 plus things I’d want to improve during the new year, and a lot of those goals would get lost in the day to day grind of life’s obligations. Over time, I started to narrow my focus. I started aligning my actions and time with a few key objectives and reaped great rewards. When we prioritize our most important goals, we take specific actions that lead to results. Try making three major resolutions so you’re not overwhelmed with too many goals and unrealistic expectations to start the year.

Is Your Objective Sustainable?

Quick fix approaches have a very high fail rate. Seventy percent of people regain all the weight lost after short term success with fad diets. For example, before experimenting with something like the ketogenic diet, ask yourself if it sustainable to give up bread, refined sugar, and alcohol, while making fat your primary macronutrient? If so, go for it! If not, construct another approach to healthier living that provides a lasting lifestyle change. Slow and steady increments are more easily woven into becoming new habits.  Making realistic goals takes some foresight and planning, and even guidance from experts that have achieved what you are aiming for. Don’t be shy about asking around, or consulting with a professional.

Reward yourself for hitting milestones

If you lose five of twenty pounds, reward yourself with a cheat meal. If you reached your monthly savings goal, give yourself a bonus.  By noticing the small steps on a longer path, we come to appreciate the journey. When we create a healthy relationship to discipline, it does not feel “self flagellating”.  At age twenty-five I had paid off all my college loans, by rewarding myself along the way, every time I reached a part of the goal. It incentivized me to have a game like approach towards hitting my final goal. The rewards I gave myself, helped to increase my focus and dedication, until I reached the finish line.

Don’t attach to perfection, rather be free to make errors daily

When we begin new practices in fitness, nutrition, or mindfulness we easily become frustrated by “trying to get it right”.  New techniques must be experienced, trimmed, and refined OVER TIME! The most important thing is perseverance, sticking with the practice, through the “good” and “bad” days.  Consistency trumps all other approaches when a new practice is being woven into your lifestyle. Think of errors and mistakes as “feedback”, and you will be able to stay on track.

Practice Gratitude

The practice of gratitude shifts our perception to perceive possibilities instead of problems.  When we feel “less than” and experience pressure to “keep up with the Jonses” the mind is in a problem frame. We create a cocktail recipe of negative neurochemistry in our brain.  Any time we think of three things we are grateful for, the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in our brain, come into the balance and function like the 3 tenors in perfect harmony.  We literally rewire our brains with the practice of gratitude. When our minds become associated to positive thinking, we manifest our deepest desires at an accelerated pace. People are more likely to collaborate with us, our sense of well being improves, the immune system becomes stronger, and we feel more purpose when we are consciously connected to gratitude.  

Build a network of positive people who are also making moves

A positive attitude is contagious. We tend to oscillate at the same vibration as the company we keep.  Choose wisely. When we are surrounded by uplifting friends, we more easily exchange ideas, feel supported and draw inspiration from one another.  Humans thrive in small, interdependent communities.

Keeping a short list of resolutions allows us to check in weekly and calibrate our efforts so that we are aligned with our intentions.  We impact the world positively by changing ourselves. Good luck with the new year ahead- remember, no effort is ever wasted! See the 2019 of your dreams in your minds eye, write out a handful of goals, and take action!

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