Jumping on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon is fun. It’s great to think about changing your life for the better. Your motivation is pure and you do want to improve your life. However, your dedication may not be there. It happens to all of us this time of year. We have grand plans for optimal health, but two weeks later we’re sipping a soda and eating a basket of fries while we’re sitting on the couch watching the newest reality show.

Now, I’m not saying any of those things are bad things; however, they may not be in your grand plan for a healthy life. So how do you really change your life? How do you find the dedication and motivation for real change?

Understand what your goals are and why

What are your goals? Why not make a list of your goals? And when making your list, consider the following questions:

• What do you want to do with your life?
• What could you improve on?
• What health concerns run in your family?
• What would make you feel better about yourself?

After you have a long list of things you’d like to accomplish in your life, create a second column and ask yourself why you want to attain these goals. When you understand your goals, it helps you dedicate yourself to them. For example, if you want to lose weight, maybe one of your reasons is so you will be a better role model for your children. Hold on to, or document, that reason for achieving your goal, and dedication to your goal will come more easily.

Take a good look at your life

What do you have to be grateful for? Remembering what is good and right in our lives tends to put everything else into perspective. When you’re dealing with a particularly difficult day and working out sounds less fun than cleaning the toilet, or you’re thinking a burger and soda at the local drive-thru will solve all of your problems, then it could be time to get out a pen and paper. Write down 5-10 things you’re grateful for. Whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or bad about things, take a look at your gratitude list or sit down and make a new one. Once you remember what is good and right in your world, the gym won’t feel so bad and that take-out food will no longer feel like a life preserver.

Set a deadline and a reward for your accomplishment.

Nothing helps you dedicate yourself to a goal better than a reward. In order to be able to reward yourself for accomplishing your goal, you’ll want to make sure your goal is both measurable and timely. If you don’t make it both measurable and timely, how are you going to know if you’re successful or not? How are you going to know if you have earned your reward? However, having a goal like losing ten pounds in three months is both measurable and timely. You know exactly how long you have to attain your goal and you know if you’ve reached it or not. A quick note on rewards – make them good! If your reward isn’t a good one, it won’t help you dedicate yourself to the task.

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