New Year, New Resolutions, A New Way to Succeed

Have you ever made a list of New Year’s resolutions with every intention of making THIS year different, only to find it hard to keep up with your goals? We certainly have!

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 12.50.35 PMThis year we are doing it differently, and maybe these changes will help you too. Movability’s Executive Director Glenn Gadbois shares his tips here for making those resolutions stick, and maybe combatting traffic at the same time.

Instead of broad changes – “get more exercise,” “save more money,” etc. – we are going to use what we know about behavior change to set ourselves up for success.

 

 

Focus on the motivation

Don’t make it a resolution that you “should” want. It has to fit with your own values.

I usually have a crazy busy schedule and there never seems to be time for new things. This year I’m making a pledge to myself: I will “do more” for my own improvement every day. That’s my motivation and putting it like this, I can simply add a five- or 10-minute item on my calendar where I get to “do more.” Maybe it’s going for a quick walk. Maybe it’s reading something on the web. Maybe it’s pulling out the book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for months.

Break it into small steps

Once you are thinking about the changes you want, keep the big thing in mind – but look for the small, manageable actions that will help you get there.

I want to get more exercise and lose weight. I start by picking an activity I like to do, like walking. I bring walking shoes to work. I choose someplace fun to walk to. I schedule the time. The key is to just do it, and don’t let yourself break your schedule. You are worth it.

Build on successes

Taking the small steps above is easy, but it won’t be enough to make the change you’re seeking stick; you have to take those steps regularly and build on your successes. Find creative ways to increase the time you can use, instead of simply expanding the calendar time.

Here’s where travel options can help me out. Instead of adding “new” time to read or exercise, I will jump on a B-cycle for errands (and exercise) or bring a book on the bus instead of driving. That way I’m “doing more” while doing the travel I have to do anyway.

If the bus doesn’t work for you, consider carpooling (more social, reading, or working time if you’re not the driver), or riding your bike (bike commuters lose an average of 13 pounds in their first year of switching from a car!) All of those options will also help you save money!

Consistency and time

It takes three weeks (minimum) of constant repetition for a new behavior to stick. To change entrenched behaviors, like smoking or driving, it can take twice that long.

Setting calendar times, making a “pledge,” and other reminders can help reinforce the new behaviors. Just know that in order to make something a habit, you’ll have to keep at it. After a while it will become a part of your daily routine and you won’t have to think about it. If you falter, just start again as quickly as you can.

Nor does change have to be extreme. Changing the way you travel even a few days or a few trips a week is a great way to get more exercise, save money, and do more with your time.

 

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