DEAR HARRIETTE: I think I’m like a lot of people in that every New Year I try to commit to doing something for myself to make my life better. In theory, this is a good idea. The problem is that I never follow through after the first month or so. I know that isn’t unusual, but still, I want to be different this year. I have a couple of goals, especially about my health. I gained a lot of weight last year, mainly due to stress on the job and eating late at night. I want to turn things around for myself, but I’m afraid that if I say I’m committing to it, I will just fall off like always. Do you have any tips for how to reach a New Year’s goal? -- Ready to Change, Boston
DEAR READY TO CHANGE: The way to stick to a goal is to make up your mind and then make a plan. What I have done that works is to say that I will exercise every single day. It hasn’t worked for me to commit to three days a week, because that often turned into no days a month! By committing to every day, I usually get in five to seven days every week. That includes holidays and vacations. If you decide not to put your priorities on hold, it is easier to fulfill them.
Use a calendar to remind yourself of your promises. If you have a smartphone or watch, set alarms that tell you when you are supposed to work out each day. Same goes for when you will eat your last meal. Decide you will stop eating late at night, and that when you eat after dinner, it will be non-fattening, healthy food. Check in with yourself every day, and at the end of each month, reflect on what you have accomplished. This will help you to stay the course. Good luck!
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)Read more in: Health & Safety | Holidays & Celebrations