Who hasn’t sat down on New Year’s Day and come up with changes—such as losing weight and exercising more—they’d like to make?
Our good intentions, though, can pass as quickly as the weeks on the calendar. Before we know it, we’re facing yet another New Year with the same old list. As Oscar Wilde cynically points out, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”
If you don’t want your past to control your future, you’ll need to make different choices today. In her book, This Year I Will . . ., M. J. Ryan asserts that most of us operate in one of three zones: comfortable, stretched or stressed. When we unconsciously act and rely on existing habits (even bad ones), we are operating in the comfort zone. The stressed zone isn’t a helpful option for changing habits either.
To overcome the obstacles to making healthy changes, you must move out of the comfort zone and begin to stretch yourself. By stretching yourself, you’ll become more playful and creative.
Once you’ve decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle, consider these three FIT tips:
F: Find a way to make achieving your fitness goals fun. Find food you love to eat that won’t pack on pounds and ways to exercise that make you feel young and playful. If you create and impersonate a positive image of your new self today, you’ll shift your attitude from “I have to” to “I want to.” Flipping this switch will make you more willing to adopt and maintain your new habits.
I: Invent the future you want. Implement the changes you want to make today. Don’t wait for the perfect time because there isn’t one. Your dream today can be reality tomorrow—your imagination is your only limit. And consider making all your changes at once. Recent research confirms that people who tackle all their changes together fare better than those who take a piecemeal approach.
T: Tell everyone you can about the changes you are making. Be specific about your actions and about how you will measure your progress. As social creatures, we are profoundly influenced by the behavior of everyone around us. Use this insight to create a support team and to be a positive role model for others.
It’s your life. Have it your way. Design a future that enhances your health and well-being and contributes to the vitality of those around you. Grab the opportunity of this unique moment.
This way, a year from now, instead of having regrets, you can reflect on your accomplishments and experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you have new habits you can bank on.
Because you made good decisions in the past, you can count on yourself to make good decisions going forward. And you will know that the future belongs to you because you dared to dream and act.