Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year - Happy Changes!

It is that time again, the end of the old year and the beginning of a new. It is the time we customarily look back at our progress through the last year and set goals and plans for ourselves for the coming new year.

Have you made changes in your life this past year? Have you started taking small steps to live healthier and take better care of yourself and those you love?

What changes are you planning for the new year? Are you planning changes that  are big and all at once like giving up smoking or soda? Or are you planning on making little changes throughout the year? Like adding more vegetables to your day through snacking or switching from a white bread to a bread made with whole grain?

I personally am doing a bit of both. My husband goes to  the gym regularly and I am going to start going with him. This is my big all at once change. I am just planning on doing some walking and working my way up to some running. This is going to be tough for me, I've never stuck to an official exercise plan before. I love walking outdoors and doing yoga, but I have never had a big commitment to daily exercise. I am excited and also really scared. I don't want to let myself down and fail.

As far as little changes I am going to continue with Food $ense and all their great programs. I am going to continue eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
What are your plans for the new year? Do you have plans that are going to help you succeed?

Some of the ways you can assure you stick to your resolutions are in this article from the Des Moines Register

Scranton University psychology professor John Norcross is offering ways to follow through on your New Year's resolutions.
Last year, 40% of Americans planned to make resolutions on Jan. 1. Popular ambitions included the usual suspects: losing weight, improving finances, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol use.
"Resolutions have been uncannily similar and stable over the years," Norcross said.
But, the author of Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing your Goals and Resolutions says resolutions are hard to keep for many Americans. Last year, Norcross predicted 50% would break one, if not all, of their goalsby mid-January.
Here are some tips from Norcross to keep your New Year's goals. And remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint!
1) Make changes to your behavior.Changing your routine can bring different results. Instead of trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome, people need to modify their behaviors.
2) Define SMART goals. When setting targets, use the SMART acronym: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific. Norcross says that individuals must go further than simply saying, "I want to lose weight." "Specifically, what are you going to do so that you can measure and track [your weight] over time, for say, the next three to four months?" he said.
3) Track your progress. Norcross calls this technique self-monitoring. A calendar, or a calendar app, is a handy tool you can use to track your goals. "It also can show you what the triggers of your behavior are and it can alert you to any early slips," Norcross says.
4) Reward small achievements. When you reach a portion of your goal, as an example you lose 10 of those 25 pounds, be kind to yourself. Recognize the accomplishment and perhaps do something nice for yourself. This will help keep you focused and excited about the overall goal.
5) Make it public. When individuals announce their goals on social media, to their families or in the workplace, they are being held accountable by those closest to them. The upside to this, Norcross says, is it can keep you on track. The downside: "It potentially increases embarrassment if they fail," he said. So, it depends on how open you want to be about your resolutions.
6) You are human. Chances are you may slip up once or twice during this process. It's OK. Norcross says it is important to deal with failures by getting back on track and continuing along your journey. Seventy percent of successful goal-setters said that their first slip actually strengthened their resolutions. Norcross says to adopt the outlook, "I'm human. Let me learn from it, and let me keep going."