The New Year is the perfect time to make bone-healthy resolutions, like starting a bone-building exercise regimen or a pH-balanced diet. While we certainly have the best intentions, it’s not a secret that more often than not we end up dropping them.
Yet research shows that making New Year’s resolutions actually gives us a better chance of keeping them. So don’t let the fear of “falling off the wagon” keep you from making resolutions in the first place.
And to help you stay on track, I can’t wait to share seven tips to help you stick to your commitments for the New Year.
Let’s start with the research showing why “resolvers” are more likely to keep their resolutions than “un-resolvers.”
Study Shows Making Resolutions Helps You Keep Your Commitments
Researchers studied two groups of demographically similar people, both of which wanted to make changes in their lives (such as exercising more or giving up smoking). One group made clear and specific resolutions, whereas the other group did not.
When scientists followed up with both groups six months later, they confirmed something amazing: 46% of the resolvers had kept their resolutions, compared to just 4% of the non-revolvers.1
There must be something about the act of making a resolution that helps us keep our commitments. In fact, it ties in with the psychology of resolutions, as do the following seven tips for keeping yours this year.
Seven Tips For Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolutions
1. Make Your New Habit A “Must”
Think for a moment about your daily habits, such as washing your hair, brushing your teeth, or walking your dog. Do you have to motivate yourself to do them? Most likely, you do these things without really thinking about them, and that’s the key.
When an action becomes a habit, it seems effortless. It can take some time for a new action to become a habit – starting with small changes is a good way to begin. But once it becomes something you “have” to do, it doesn’t occur to you to do otherwise.
2. Make A List That Includes A Plan For Dealing With Temptation
It’s inevitable that temptations will come along as you make an effort to keep your resolutions. To help overcome these moments, it helps to see your commitments on paper along with an “escape plan.” So a good idea is to write a list of your goals along with a brief reminder of temptations and how you’ll handle them. Here’s an example.
Let’s say someone is trying to cut back on bone-damaging cola, but they find themselves tempted to drink colas at work, especially in the afternoon when they lack energy. They might write something like this:
-Drink only one cola a week. Bring healthy drinks to work and an energizing, healthy snack for the afternoon.
That kind of list addresses the reality of temptation and suggests a way to overcome it.
3. Don’t Be Too Strict – Keep It Realistic
You probably noticed that the cola example above reduced the amount of cola to once a week, but did not obliterate it entirely. That’s because for many people, giving up all of something all at once can set up for failure. It’s a much more attainable goal to reduce the consumption of cola to once or even twice a week instead of drinking it every day.
Notice how relatively small changes can make a big difference – that means only eight colas in a month (if drinking two a week) instead of thirty per month.
4. Think It Through
When you’re planning your resolutions, it’s a good idea to do so well in advance. Spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment resolutions made at midnight on New Year’s Eve are more likely to fail.
If you haven’t made your resolutions by New Year’s Day, don’t worry; just take your time and make a well-thought-out list, and get started a week or two later. That gives you time to consider temptations and escape plans, as we discussed in #2 above, and it also gives you a chance to assess the pros and cons of your resolutions.
5. Be Kind To Yourself
There is no need to beat yourself up if you find yourself challenged by keeping your resolution. Instead, if you “miss the mark,” take the opportunity to re-evaluate and consider what changes you need to make in order to meet your goals.
Perhaps you need to make more incremental changes, or maybe some things just aren’t working the way you thought they would and you need to be a bit more flexible. Once you re-evaluate, make a new list with more doable resolutions, and you will be off and running again. You can do it!
6. Reward Yourself When You Succeed
Celebrate your successes, even the small ones. Make sure your reward does not go against your resolution, however. It would be a bad idea, for instance, to reward yourself with a milkshake if you’ve resolved to stop drinking milk.
An alternative idea would be to get a good blender so you can make bone-smart, delicious smoothies instead. Or perhaps you can treat yourself to a movie, a dinner out, or even a special gift like a pretty candle or houseplant. Regardless of what you choose, the action of self-reward is important to keep your motivation strong.
7. Keep Track Of Your Successes
Each time you reach a goal or keep a commitment, or practice a healthy new habit – no matter how small – make a note of it. If your goal is to lose 25 pounds, don’t wait until you’ve lost all 25 to take note. Instead, when you lose five pounds or even one pound (whatever a realistic goal is for you), write it down and celebrate!
Have Faith In Yourself!
Too many people won’t make resolutions at all because they just don’t believe in themselves. But the fact is, many people do keep their resolutions, and are happier and healthier because of it. There is no reason you can’t be one of those people!
Remember, it’s okay to start small – in fact, it’s better. Even very small changes can make huge differences in your health and life. You are capable of forming new habits that will become second nature. And with the thriving Save Our Bones community, you have access to lots of support to help you through.
Feel free to share your resolutions for the New Year by leaving a comment below.
As the New Year begins, I want to thank you for being an integral part of the Saver community — I couldn't do any of this without you.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year!
1 Norcross, John C., Mrykalo, Marci S., and Blagys, Matthew D. “Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers.” J Clin Psychol. March 8, 2002. Volume 58, Issue 4, pages 397-405. Doi: 10.1002/jclp.11151. Web. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jclp.1151/abstract
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Vivian, you mention cola drinks as something to avoid but what about sparkling water like Pellegrino or club soda – is it the carbonation that is harmful or something else? Thank you!
Thank you for asking this question 😊 I have been wondering about sparkling mineral water too. I would love a list of healthy substitute drinks I can buy at a cafe or restaurant when dining out with friends. Annie
Concerning habits: I read that as you practice something new and make it a good habit, the old habit will naturally fall away. It is not a stressful approach. For example, as you add fresh nutritious food to your diet, your cravings for junk food begun to wane.
Thank you, Ita.
There is always more lots of places at which people choose to travel with themselves and relatives on the year. We want to understand that there is more lots of travel providers is operating internationally.
Vivian, thank you for your topics. my daughter took away my computer but I always find away to read your articles. Thank you for the weekly challenges.
I have been so encouraged by the saveourbones program, thank you so much Vivian! When I am purposeful in thinking through my meals and exercising I know that I am doing the best for my body. I was hoping to purchase the book Bone Appetit, as a motive to stay with this lifestyle, but see it is only available as a digital download. Will it be back in book form? Hope so!!!
Hi, could you please send me the recipe for the face cream, I have the ingredients but can’t remember the quantities.
I enjoy your program very much. But I agree with B.A. Young. What would REALLY help would be a DVD of the exercises especially for us older people who can see the TV much better than a computer screen. I hope one of your New Years resolutions will be to prepare an exercise program on DVD for us. I’d gladly be one of the first to buy it!!! I hope you have a wonderful 2016!
I enjoy reading you articles and have benefited from the exercises as I am a heart patient and the exercises that you prescribe are fine for me together with walking on the treadmill. I am starting on the osteo exercises as at age 80 I feel the pain on my knuckles.
A Happy New Year to you and you staff and may the 2016 bring you all the nice things.
I thought in the beginning you wanted no exercise. This article starts out with exercise. Why?
Happy and Healthier New Year to all the Save Our Bones Family!! May 2016 bring us all healthier bones!!
Thanks Vivian for your guidance.
This year I resolved to lose 16 in 16. I didn’t wait for tomorrow but started immediately by cutting back on portion size just a little. I have been using your program for two years and know my bones are getting stronger. We have come to love almond milk. I look forward to sharing ideas from you with friends who might be inclined to go the pharma route. Keep up the good work!
What would REALLY help is a DVD of the exercises. Or a book.
I only have an I phone and no printer.
I would be happy to buy it.
I am just starting this program as I just had a terrible DEXA scan report from my Dr. She immediately prescribed Fosomax. I took one dose and was sick for two days. I threw the rest away and started my research. My reaction was the same as yours Vivian and I am scared and fearful of the future. I hate this feeling. I am so thankful I found your website SAVEOURBONES. I have ordered your main book and all your ebooks. I have so many questions. I have to make this work! I have no other option – I will not take those awful drugs. Thank you so much Vivian for all your research and willingness to share it. I hope I have results as great as those I have read here. Any help and support I can get will be so appreciated. Thanks so much – Kay
Welcome to the community Kay. You’ll get all the help and support you need on your journey. Many of us came here after terrible experiences with conventional methods and have found that Big Pharma is NOT our friend. Its all about the money and they don’t give a flying fig about us. It will take time so be patient.. We’re all here to help along with our Precious Vivian….
I love the 7 tips because they help to focus on what is really important to work on, given that we’re thinking about it all from 7 different aspects .. actually eight because the ‘having faith in yourself’ is encouragement that it is actually achievable too!
‘Be kind to yourself’ is so important in my experience. If you give yourself negative messages when you ‘fail’ to always stick to something then it sort of sets your mind off in a downward spiral. Just acknowledge that you have strayed off the path and gently work back onto it. As Vivian says, it takes time to establish a new habit or way of thinking. This works for meditation as well.
Happy New Year! Thank you for all the helpful hints and recipes. I look forward to your emails. Somewhere I saw a recipe you posted for portabella cutlets. I bought the portabellas and can’t find the recipe. Could you send it to us again? Thank you.