Every January, gyms are flooded with new people.
Aerobics classes are shoulder to shoulder. There are waiting lines for the treadmills. The over-crowded conditions usually last a
few weeks. The gym gradually returns to normal. Many people resolve to start exercising more
in the New Year but for some reason they’re just unable to maintain the behavior change.
So, what happens to those New Year’s resolutions? We may know that we need to change, but for
some reason it can seem almost impossible to do.
Researchers have identified proven behavior change strategies that can be applied to help
you become successful in reaching your goals. Discover how these strategies can be used
to improve your health and increase your wealth with the Small Steps to Health and Wealth
program. Small Steps to Health and Wealth(tm) is a
national Cooperative Extension program developed to motivate Americans to take action to improve
their health and personal finances. Is there something you want to change? Here
are a few tips to help you begin. Behavior change is more likely to occur if
you have a written goal. Include a timeline and a specific target such as a dollar amount
or your goal weight. People with negative thought patterns give
up more quickly than those with a positive outlook. Use positive terms in your written
goals. For example, instead of thinking “stop impulse
buying” you might say to yourself “use smart spending strategies.”
Instead of thinking “eat less”, think “healthy eating is a lifestyle choice for me.” The thought of changing long-term habits can
be overwhelming. Procrastination can derail your resolutions.
Sometimes, people want to change but they are uncertain of where to begin.
You may need to do some research to find recommendations that you can apply to achieve your goal.
The Cooperative Extension Service is a great resource for research-based information about
diet, nutrition, health, and personal finance. Decide when and where to start. Decide on specific action steps you can take
to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to increase retirement
savings, you may decide to set up direct deposit into a 401K or IRA.
If you are trying to create a written budget, you might start by tracking and recording
all of your expenses for a couple of months. If you want to lower your blood pressure,
you might start by setting aside 30 minutes to exercise every day, monitoring your sodium
intake, and checking your blood pressure regularly. Start on your journey to successful behavior
change by taking Small Steps.