Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

It’s almost January again. We’re all starting to look forward to Superbowl (or Superbowl ads), Valentine’s Day, and Spring Break, bur there’s something that will inevitably happen first:

You will give up on New Year’s resolutions. (If you made them at all!)

Now is the time of year when people start to think about making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s a lot easier to make the resolutions than to stick with the them. That’s why this year, I decided to start working on my resolutions before January – so that the habits would be firmly in place by the time the New Year rolled around. My resolution this year is giving up sugar. I figure if I can make it through Christmas cookie and candy season, I can make it through the year.

6 Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

1. Write your resolution down. It’s all fine and good to think about your New Year’s resolutions in your own mind, but if you really want them to stick, you need to say them out loud and write them down. (This is me, doing that, right now: my New Year’s resolution is to cut out sugar – no soda, no cookies or candy, so white bread or rice, no potato chips, etc).

2. Tell people your resolution. It’s really difficult to stick to your goals if there are people in your life who don’t know what they are. For example, I have wanted to cut sugar for a while (ever since I discovered the sugar industry paid for the research that made fat the culprit when it was really sugar all along).  But by not telling Dave, he would do things like bring me a Snickers bar when he went to the grocery store, which I would be obligated to eat (right?!) or buy soda on the buy-two-get-three-free sales that I would then feel like I had to drink. So I told him. Now he’s not bringing me temptations and actively looks for ways to remove sugar from our diets.

3. Keep track of the progress you make. To motivate you to keep going, keep track of the progress you are making toward reaching your resolution. This will mean different things to you depending on your goal. If you’re writing a book, it might be the number of words you get down in a day. For me, it’s knowing that as of today, I’ve not had soda, candy, cookies, or other sweets (or chips, white bread, etc) for 3 weeks.

4. Find someone with similar goals. It’s so much easier to stick to your New Year’s resolutions if you know someone else who is trying to achieve the same goal. There are tons of online supports to help you if you don’t have anyone personally in your life working on the same thing.

5. Create new habits. Whether your resolution is something you’re removing from your life (like sugar) or adding to your life (like Yoga) part of your success comes in creating new habits – not just physically but mentally, too. It takes mental discipline to change your relationship with food, exercise, and yourself. Give yourself the time and mental space to do that.

6. Remember the reason for your resolution. Whether you’re saving money for a trip to Europe or trying to fit into your high school jean size, remind yourself of your end goal. By starting early on my no-sugar lifestyle, I’m already seeing results. Did you know how bad sugar is for your skin? Wow, what a difference.

You don’t have to make resolutions every year, but self-improvement is never a bad thing, and these six steps will help you have more success in achieving your goals.