Have you ever had a health-related habit that was incredibly hard to break? Have you been stuck doing the same thing over and over, even though you know it's not good for you? Have New Year's resolutions and intentions failed you? How do you move beyond such a conundrum?
Making The Decision
When we want to make a change, we generally need to make a decision that we're ready to go for it. That decision process is important, and it's the first step in prioritizing our decision, bringing the reality of our choices home to roost.
The decision can sometimes be the easiest part, but for some us, it can be the hardest. Old habits die hard, and we may need support and accountability partners to make it work.
Recruiting support may be easy, and you may have just the right team within arm's reach. Perhaps you have a friend, dietitian, spouse, nurse, doctor, faith leader, support group, or other presence in your life who can step up and support you with accountability and cheerleading. Perhaps you have a friend or family member with the same goal, and you can become "accountability buddies" along the shared path. Support is often essential to success, so consider who that might be for you.
Setting Measurable, Attainable Goals
Goals are best when they're measurable and attainable. If you set a goal that's ambiguous (like "cutting down on alcohol intake"), it's difficult to measure (and somewhat difficult to attain) if you don't know exactly what you're shooting for. Instead, try "limiting my alcohol intake to two drinks per week", or if you need a range, "limiting my alcohol intake to 1-3 drinks per week". This outcome is measurable, and you'll clearly know if you've succeeded or not.
In terms of attainability, that's another factor. If you set smaller, measurable goals that you're relatively certain to attain, it will boost your confidence and increase your overall success.
Taking the above example of alcohol intake into account, setting a goal that you think you can achieve will certainly be a better move on your part. If you're currently having ten drinks per week (not really recommended for most diabetics due to the high sugar/carb content of many alcoholic drinks), you might want to consider a slow taper. In this particular case, cutting down by eight drinks per week every two weeks until you reach a more reasonable and healthy number of drinks per week would be a very intelligent and sane goal that you're highly likely to accomplish.
Following Up With Compassion
Sometimes, we just can't live up to our goals, no matter how hard we try, and no matter how measurable and seemingly attainable they may be. Have compassion and be gentle with yourself, cutting yourself the slack you need. Be sure to reevaluate your goals and set new ones in a way that will help you achieve success the next time, all while not berating yourself for the seeming "failure".
When Enough is Enough
When enough is enough in your life regarding a particular habit, you'll know it's time to take inspired action. Whether it's alcohol intake, exercise frequency, sleep hygiene, or having more leisure time, you know what your areas of need are.
Set measurable, attainable goals, ask for support and accountability, and see how 2015 can measure up as a year of breaking habits you no longer need, while beginning new practices that stimulate and support your health and well-being.