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How to Make Realistic New Year's Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh and make some positive changes in your life. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to make a change and follow through with it. You may have seen many posts saying, "new year, new me," but it takes a lot of time, effort, and motivation to develop new habits.

Many people fall into the pattern of making lofty, general new year's resolutions like "eat healthy" or "exercise more." While these are important things to strive for, you need to break them down into actionable, yet manageable, steps that you can track over time. The gyms will be very crowded for the next few weeks full of people with good intentions, but unfortunately that doesn't always last. If you want to continue that momentum, you need to set yourself some realistic resolutions.

- Reflect on the previous year. Did you make any resolutions last year? Did you succeed with any of them? Think about what worked and didn't work. Maybe you didn't make any last year, and that's okay. Now is the time to think about what positive changes you want to make in your life.

- Write down what you want to accomplish this year. This can be good old-fashioned pen to paper, or write in the notes section of your phone. Another good idea is to put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or somewhere you look every day to remind yourself for some extra motivation.

- Give yourself time. You do not need to transform your entire life in the month of January. This is also not realistic and can be discouraging. Set one month, three month and six month goals.

- Find friends to support you. Do you have a friend that likes to run? Or likes to cook? Find a running buddy, or start a healthy cooking night with some friends to swap recipes and ideas. You are more likely to succeed if you have someone else doing it with you.

- Make time to work on your resolutions. It can be difficult to set aside time to work on yourself with all the different obligations we have. Like in my previous post about sleeping, you have to schedule in time to make these positive changes. Even if you can only carve in 15 minutes to go for a jog in the morning, pencil it in!

Two popular resolutions are exercising and eating better. Those are two things that most people know you should do but finding the time and motivation to do it is another story.

If you want to start exercising more, start small. Join a gym and set a goal to go two or three times a week. Many gyms offer personal training, which can be a terrific way to kick-start your exercise habit. You don't even have to join a gym. Set a goal for this week to go for a walk three times. Then you can slowly build up from there. There are tons of workout tutorials and videos available online both for free and paid. With some equipment, you can do a full workout in your own living room whenever you can find the time.

If you want to start eating healthier, start small. Bring a lunch to work just one day a week and see how that goes. (I have a super easy Bento Box recipe!) If you have the habit of hitting up fast food places, make a goal to only go on the weekends and then slowly start eliminating those fast food trips. If you want to go vegetarian or vegan, start with a "meatless Monday" to get in the habit of cooking without meat.

Here are some other great new year's resolutions to consider:

- Learn a new language.

- Spend more time with family/friends.

- Read more books.

- Quit smoking.

- Travel to a new city.

- Take up a new hobby (like salsa dancing or painting).

- Only buy things I need.

- Spend less time using electronics.

- Start a garden.

- Run a marathon.

- Save money.

There's so many great ways to improve your life, both physically and mentally. Remember to come up with your goal for this year, and then think of small steps you can start to make it a reality.

Don't get down on yourself if your resolutions fall to the wayside. If in a few months you realize you haven't been to the gym in a while, head outside for a quick jog to get yourself back in the habit.

You also don't have to wait until January 1st to start making positive changes in your life! Schedule a consultation with me to go over your complete health history, testing options and a treatment plan to help you improve your health. Contact Twin Cities Integrative Medicine in Maple Grove, MN to schedule your consultation.


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