Green Gym Day by Kathleen O'Reilly

I want to see every day be Green Gym Day!

Are you going to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? You’re not alone. Most of us believe we can do better, and the start of a new year is the most symbolic time to do it.

Another thought – if you don’t manage to keep your resolutions exactly as hoped, you’re not alone there either.

Various surveys and studies show that while about three-quarters of us stick to our resolutions for whole week, less than half of us have kept to them six months into the year.

It’s not easy to change our habits. But it’s not impossible.

Here are seven ways to make resolutions easier to keep.

  1. Make your resolution about positive action, not merely about outcomes. For example, your goal might be to lose 10 pounds in 2016. But, what if you don’t lose 10 pounds? As we know, eating less and exercising more are not necessarily a guarantee that weight loss will result. You’d be better served by resolving to aim for a goal that improves your health, such as exercising for 20 minutes three times a week, or making every day a Green Gym Day. Rather than obsessing about weight loss, choose to make something that you actually have control over.
  2. Make it a small step. Instead of committing yourself to never eating junk food again, choose to opt more frequently for a piece of fruit instead of a cookie as your mid-afternoon snack. Which do you think is more likely to be successful? As you successfully exercise the self-discipline, other small steps become easier and, eventually, the bigger ones do too.
  3. Give yourself a new routine. This is one secret to many 12-step programs. Don’t just remove a less healthy habit like having a drink after work; replace it with something that will serve to produce better outcomes. Take away the habitual after-dinner drink and make the new custom a walk with a co-worker. Eventually, the walk becomes the habit.
  4. Surround yourself with others who are doing what you want to be doing. It’s hard to change on your own. But when you look across the room and see someone who is doing their best to keep their promise to change, you are inspired to push forward and to help a friend or colleague do the same. You’re also less likely to yield to temptation if those around you are “behaving” themselves.
  5. Change your environment. Our environment can often influence our behaviors. If we find ourselves in the same space, we tend to do the same things, almost as if on automatic pilot. Have you noticed how it is easier to change a habit when you’re on vacation? Taking away the same everyday cues can help to spark new behavior. I would light a cigarette every time the phone rang at one job. And when I quit, I quit smoking. For others, it might be the temptation proffered by the delicious aroma of a cinnamon bun when you take your usual route home from work. So ask yourself: what is it that spurs you to the behavior you’d wish to eliminate? And then ask, how can you change that aspect of your environment?
  6. Tell others about your resolution. If you keep it private, you’ve got an excuse not to do it. When you tell people, it shows that you believe in yourself and holds you accountable.
  7. Keep track. Keep a journal or other type of record of your progress. It doesn’t need to be a big deal—just a sentence or two. This is easier and may be more powerful if you attach a number to your resolution, such as “eat 5 fruits and vegetables a,” rather than just “eat more fruits and vegetables.”

And if you “fall off the wagon,” don’t panic. Get right back on it. Don’t let one little slip up feel like total failure. Do not give into futility. So, you ate the whole cake. That was today. Tomorrow is another day, even if it isn’t January 1st.

Bonus offer: To get to started towards a better year, I’m offering my book, “Nancercize: 101 Things to Do on a Park Bench,” for a special first of the year price! Regularly, it’s $19.99; order now and it’s only $14.99–that’s $5 off the price.  To order, email me at today! Order in bulk of at least 10 and you’ll save even more!

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