4 Ways to Turn Your Goals Into Healthy Habits
By Sarah Norvilas
It’s midnight on December 31st. The air is filled with excitement, confetti and a renewed sense of optimism. Many of you were likely promising yourself to make some big, positive changes in 2015. And if you are like me (and more than 75% of Americans), health and wellness were probably on your list.
Well, it’s time to check in. January is over and again, if you are like a large percentage of Americans, more than 50% have already thrown in the towel.
If so, don’t worry… its okay! I’m here to help!
So what is it that makes keeping these new goals so darn difficult? I’ll give you a piece of advice that may make all of the difference. I suggest that you stop putting your efforts into achieving goals and start spending more time developing habits.
What’s the difference? A lot, actually.
Don’t get me wrong, goals are important. They help create change and drive you forward. However, many people hit their goals, celebrate their accomplishments and are left with a feeling of completion… finality. And often this “end” of sorts has a tendency to stop the very behaviors that got you to your goals in the first place!
Goals also feel finite. You succeed or you fail; and that, my friend sets you up for a whole host of negative feelings that stop so many people before they even start. Maybe you’re one of them.
The reality is, if you are reading this and looking at a certain aspects of your life that you’d like to be different, you probably haven’t been given the tools or developed the skill set to foster those healthy behaviors. And that’s okay!
So, where do you start?
Again goals are important—but I will tell you, all successful people who reach and maintain their goals have done so by establishing a set of habits. It’s in the doing. Everyday. It’s in the baby steps. Consistency and follow through. Sounds pretty basic and I am here to tell you that it certainly can be.
1. Write It Down: It’s been estimated that people who write things down achieve 85% more of their goals than those who don’t. 85%!!! That’s a HUGE number! Take your time with this first step, as it’s the most important.
Sit down and make a few lists. Write down all of the things, personal and professional that you would like to achieve this year. This list should be attainable. I want to win the lottery isn’t really an attainable goal (although who doesn’t). But if you want to make more money, that we can work with.
2. Find The Habits: Take a look at those individual goals and write down all of the habits that are necessary to work towards that goal. If you want to lose weight, do you need to go to the gym? How often? Cut out simple sugars several times per week? Make these steps attainable and measurable. In doing this, remember that change come from a permanent shift in your patterns.
3. Plan It Out: Time to get to work! Get a calendar, dry erase board, paper on the fridge where you can give yourself daily gold stars (hey, it was motivating when you were five, maybe it still works now). Either way put it in plain sight. New habits require daily reminders. Plot your new habits out each day of the week. It will give you something to look forward to; an attainable step that you are accountable for each day. This is an opportunity for a mini-celebration – the re-building of a new and improved YOU!
4. Be Kind: This is almost as important, if not more so, than step #1. You are creating new habits and that takes work. You will not perfect these habits overnight so understand and accept that from the get-go. There will be days where you will be glowing with pride and days that you will miss a step. It’s all part of the process and you should be proud of yourself for making this commitment and following thru. And when you feel like quitting… I encourage you to keep going… and going… and going!
Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Integrative Medicine Practitioner
at Nine Acupuncture
Sarah Norvilas is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and integrative medicine practitioner practicing in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica California. Upon opening her first clinic, she quickly realized that education was imperative in order to empower each of her patients with the proper tools to maintain their health long after they left her care. She integrates eastern methodologies, nutrition, detoxification and the mind, body, spirit connection into her practice. Her specialties include reproductive medicine, orthopedics and digestive disorders.
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