Why are we all programmed to think that the New Year’s holiday time is the only time when we all make new goals or resolutions which is just another way of saying we’ll try to form better habits? Most of us have already abandoned, if not totally forgotten, the goals or resolutions we made a short five or six months ago.
Right now, the hot and humid summer days may be a better time to make some changes and develop a few healthier lifestyle choices. The summer months provide us with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and make it easier to eat healthier. If you need a little motivation, just take a short trip to Farmers Market on a Saturday morning.
Here are a few ways to make sure your resolutions become habits that improve your lifestyle. Carefully choose the right time to actually start working on your new habit. Plan ahead. Start a journal and write down what you want to accomplish and the steps you must do to be successful. Also keep a daily record in your journal of what you actually do as related to your new habit. Select a day that is fairly stress-free and get started. Remember, it takes time to change habits, so be patient.
It takes time and willpower to change habits so if you miss a day, just pick up the next day. Start slowly and that new habit will become part of your routine if you stick to your plan. Get a buddy to join you and it will help both of you be more successful.
Once you have chosen a new habit, it can seem a bit overwhelming. But you can turn a resolution into a habit. Research shows it takes about 21 days for a habit to form. If you keep up your motivation for only three or four weeks, the hard part will be over. Remember 21 days is not a guarantee for everyone but is a good timeframe to aim for and knowing that in just a few weeks you will have moved closer to having a new healthy habit.
While these suggestions are great tips for starting out, they certainly aren’t the only strategies that will work. If you’ve successfully formed a good habit in the past, use that experience to help you with the new habits you have chosen to work on now. What habit do you want to change?
Judy Schmoeger, a longtime resident of Lee’s Summit, is owner and general manager of Anytime Fitness.