5 Tips For Sticking To Your Resolutions

  • Just about two weeks into the New Year -- how are your resolutions doing?

    The truth is that many of us set goals (i.e., New Years' Resolutions) that we are destined not to fulfill. It's a sad fact that it is easy to make a resolution, but extremely difficult to stick to it. And that's a shame, because sticking to the resolutions we make on New Year's Day could greatly change each of our lives for the better.


    Some common resolutions people with asthma might make would be:

    • Lose weight. (Obesity is a big risk factor for asthma, so any efforts toward losing weight will help with asthma control.)
    • Work harder to avoid triggers. (Trigger avoidance is the best route to greater asthma control.)
    • Take asthma medicine more consistently. (Studies have shown that one of the most common barriers to asthma control is not taking medicine as prescribed.)

    So, today, while it's still early in the year, I thought I'd help the cause by giving you some tips for revamping your resolutions so you can stick to them!

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    1. Set a specific, detailed and measurable goal as your resolution. For instance, don't just say you want to lose weight. Say something like, "To lose 30 pounds by April 15th." Make sure the goal is a realistic one, but also something challenging enough to inspire you. And write it down... that makes it more real.


    2. Make a plan & act on it immediately. There is no time like the present to get started on making the changes you want to make. Break your goal down into small actions you can do today. For instance, while your overall goal may be to lose 30 pounds by springtime, today you can start by making healthier food choices and by taking a 30-minute walk. You can also set interim goals, such as "lose 10 pounds by February 15th", etc. Breaking a plan into steps and "along the way" goals will also give you opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment as you progress toward the ultimate goal.


    3. Enlist support. It's almost always easier to achieve something when you have the support of others. So, share your goal and your plan, either by posting it publicly in your home, office, or even online, and/or by talking about it with the important people in your life. If you can get a "buddy" to join you in your quest, even better. For instance, you might ask a friend to walk with you each day at lunchtime. Or start a friendly competition with your spouse to see who can lose 10 pounds first (in a healthy way, of course). Sharing your goals with others not only can gain you support when things get tough, it also helps you to hold yourself accountable. Going public, so to speak, makes it harder to quit without losing face.


    4. Set yourself up for success, not failure. Make it as easy as possible on yourself to achieve your goal and stick to your resolution. So, for instance, if your goal is to lose weight, don't eat in fast food restaurants or buy salty, fatty snacks for your home. Hang out with people who will have a positive, not a negative, influence on you. But, if you do slip off the wagon, don't beat yourself up or quit altogether. Everyone slips up now and then. Just recognize what's happened, and then get back on track as soon as you can.


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    5. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. As you achieve your interim goals and steps, reward yourself. Plan the rewards in advance, so that they help motivate you. Sure, it'll be great to reach the ultimate goal just because you set the resolution, but it'll be more fun along the way when you get some rewards. Just be sure they're healthy rewards. So don't reward yourself for losing your first 10 pounds by gorging on a bag of potato chips or eating half a gallon of ice cream. Instead, make the reward a new blouse or a day at the spa, or something fun, but not harmful to your ultimate goal.


    I have some very specific New Year's resolutions I'll be making this year (including losing weight!), and I know I'll be using all of the tips above to help make them happen. How about you? What are your New Year's resolutions for 2009? Please use the Comments link below to post them here, and maybe we can all support each other!

Published On: January 14, 2009