Willpower Doesn't Work: Here's What DOES Turn Resolutions into Habits

5 Minute Read: New Year’s resolutions, intentions, manifestation, habit shifts, design for life.

Wow. January’s practically done ;). How’re those resolutions going? If you’re just getting started, don’t worry – it’s not too late! Thing is though, willpower doesn’t work (especially come February ;).

It takes simple, specific conditions to turn resolutions into habits and daily routines. This is true whether you want to eat healthy, cut sugar, meet fitness or weight loss goals, start a meditation practice, declutter your home, devote time to self-care, begin journaling or…anything, really!

To help you follow through and feel your best this year, here are…

Photo by J. Kelly Brito, Unsplash

Photo by J. Kelly Brito, Unsplash

7 Tips for Turning Resolutions into Habits

1 get specific and realistic.

Don't be wishy-washy. Instead of "I want to eat healthier," decide: "I will eat real, whole food AT LEAST 2 meals every day."

Instead of "I want to get fit," decide: "I will walk 30 minutes every morning and attend 3 yoga classes every week."

Instead of “I want to simplify and tidy my space,” decide: “I will commit 1 hour each Saturday to cleaning out a room, closet or cabinet – setting a timer and getting Operation Purge + Declutter done!”

The more specific you can be, the more likely you'll see real outcomes and manifest what you want. If there's a place to add a time element or numbers, do so. Write it down. Post it up. Visit it daily.

In getting specific, be realistic. What are you truly ready and able to do right now? Start there rather than with "should's." Choose real life over fantasy life.

Sometimes better is good enough. And better is far superior to the trap of perfectionism and self-sabotage.

2 Track your progress by journaling.

Keep a journal to track how you're doing and what’s arising in body and mind. This is an exercise in mindfulness and adds an important layer of accountability.

By showing up and checking in each day, you'll grow your sphere of awareness – including awareness of YOUR choices and where they lead.

The type of journal that's most helpful depends on you and your tendencies. As part of my work with Deep Dive clients, I craft a journaling strategy tailored to YOU.

That said, you can find lots of ideas online, and I lay out some basic guidelines here.

3 Create conditions for success.

Planning and prepping are huge when it comes to sticking with new routines. For this reason, I outline a handful of meal prep and healthy eating strategies in my free Primal Eating with Ease ebook.

Just as important is "choosing your advertising." What messages are you surrounding yourself with, whether when scrolling social media or in person? Do they support true self-care and self-love?

Keep your resolutions in mind and edit out what doesn’t support your healthiest, most vital self.

Of course, the "right" conditions differ depending on you and your tendencies. For some, abstinence is best; for others, that's a sure path to self-sabotage!

During a Deep Dive, I craft a customized plan for putting YOUR right conditions in place. This includes reflective exercises and practical action steps that take your tendencies into account and maximize chances of success.

4 Keep it simple.

The simpler and easier you make it, the better. If you want to eat healthy and lose weight, stock up on healthy options and don’t keep crap food in the house.

If you want to work out with others, join a gym you enjoy and that’s easy to get to.

Being healthy truly doesn’t have to be complicated.

Eat real food. Move each day. Sleep 8 hours each night. Lean into the basics of healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

Hold fast to your why of doing this thing. How do you want to feel? What choices support that? 

What choices make you feel better? Not just in the moment…but when you’re falling asleep that night…and the day after. Do that stuff.

5 Make it fun!

Carrying through our your New Year’s resolutions shouldn't be miserable! It should make you feel good!

Rather than fixate on fear of missing out or what you’re giving up, remember what you're pulling toward and what you'll be gaining.

Seek enjoyment in the process and recruit friends to tag along for the healthy lifestyle ride. Some ideas:

  • Buy a new cookbook and play with tasty recipes (or find them online).

  • Try a new movement class or check out different yoga studios or gyms.

  • Host a Whole30 or plant-based paleo potluck.

  • Host a healthy-ish paleo cookies and cocoa party :).

  • Plan a spa or DIY self-care day, whether alone or with friends.

6 Reward yourself.

As part of making your healthy lifestyle fun, celebrate successes with a treat – something that feels good AND is good for you.

This could be a massage, spa treatment, date at a local coffee shop, DIY face mask, hot bath with essential oils, relaxing dinner in, or night off with child care.

Perhaps gift yourself a new journal, candle, fresh flowers, lavender soap or natural face serum ;).

These sorts of rewards, self-care and self-love don't have to cost much – or anything! Just make sure they feel like a treat AND support your healthiest, best-feeling self.

Bring mindfulness to the process, and truly celebrate your success in staying the course and feeling better.

7 Get support.

Turning resolutions into new habits and daily routines can be hard – especially once the hype of January passes and February rolls around.

It takes years to get where we are with eating and lifestyle, and change usually doesn't happen overnight or in a month.

Know what makes it WAY easier?

Caring support. Ask for it.

For many of my clients (and me!) this is hard. But please ask for support from friends and loved ones. Explain, with sincerity and honesty, why your resolutions are important to you. Request backup.

As you do, be as specific as possible and make clear this is about you and what you need (e.g., not a judgement against them or their choices).

You can also lean into me, whether by subscribing to my weekly newsletter or popping by the blog and Instagram from time to time.

Additionally, for a customized plan + coaching to jumpstart your new year, apply for a Deep Dive. This long-distance package includes:

  • An online assessment

  • Two 60-minute coaching sessions

  • A plan tailored just for you, with reflective exercises and practical action steps

It’s perfect for exploring overeating, emotional eating, eating addiction and eating disorders…or “just” putting healthy lifestyle routines in place and turning resolutions into habits.

It can be mostly about food…or lifestyle…or living a simpler, clutter-free life.

In other words, this is NOT a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter offering. We’ll fit it to YOU! To learn more and apply, head here.

Meanwhile, know I’m rooting for you! Wishing you so much success in living your best, most fulfilled life and feeling fantastic come February!

Photo by Ruediger Theiselmann, Unsplash

Photo by Ruediger Theiselmann, Unsplash

support makes it easier.

Caring accountability makes healthy living WAY easier.

I offer two avenues for custom plans + coaching:

The Foundation and The Deep Dive.

For free support, also check out my ebooks and newsletter.

In integrity + alchemy.

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