Yep, it’s officially that time of year. If you, like so many other people this time of year, made a lofty New Year’s resolution, chances are that you could use a little help sticking with it. The first step to keeping with your resolution is to make one that’s actually possible. Since it may already be too late for THAT tip, we’re not putting it on the list. Here are five things you can do to ensure your resolve lives past January.
Since examples are endlessly helpful, I’m going to use this resolution as an example for all five tips.
For 2012, I will commit fully to my gluten free diet.
1. Break it down. Take you big goal and break it down into manageable pieces. Using our example above, it’s a pretty big thing to go cold-turkey on gluten. Like any other diet, baby steps are the key- start with being fully gluten free for one week, taking each day one at a time. When you’ve finished your first week, renew your commitment. Remind yourself why you’re doing this and set yourself another manageable goal. If one week was hard, repeat it. If, instead, you found one week to be a breeze, make it a month gluten free.
2. Set yourself up for success. You’ve picked a lofty goal to aspire to, don’t sabotage yourself right from the get go. Using our example above, start by removing any of your main gluten cravings and replacing them with gluten free alternatives. Remove gluten-filled snack foods from your house and anywhere else you like to snack, like your office or the car, and replace them will some gluten free snacks that taste awesome. If pizza is your go-to Friday meal, take the pizza place off your speed dial, dump their magnets, and stock your cupboards (or freezer) with appropriate pizza crust options, toppings and cheeses. Or do one better and find a local pizza place that offers gluten free pizza and put their number up on the fridge.
3. Plan ahead. On Sunday, think about the week ahead and look for places where you’ll likely get tripped up on your road to success. Then, make a plan for how to deal with them. If you have a work lunch on Wednesday, call the restaurant and discuss gluten free dining options. Write them down and take your list with you. If you know that Thursday will be hard because you’re on the go all day, pack a bag of gluten-free snacks to eat on the run and map out a place on your route to stop for a gluten free lunch.
4. Write it out. If you’re not in the habit already, find a way to journal your feelings every day as you work towards your goal. The prevalence of free blogging software these days makes that a great alternative to your traditional paper-bound journal (after all a blog used to be short hand for a web log). Set up a blog (make sure to password protect it or limit who can view it) and write your feelings out to the internet. Be honest and let it all out. You’re ticked off because you can’t eat the cake at the party? Don’t dump it all on your friends, dump it somewhere you can truly let it all out without judgement. I personally love blogging those feelings because even though in reality no one can see what I write, I feel like I’m yelling at the whole world about something and I almost always feel better about it afterwards. Yell it at the internet, it doesn’t have feelings.
5. Find an ally. Whether you lean on your most intimate partner or an anonymous forum, having someone who can support you when you feel week or comfort you when you feel lost, is critical to success. Chances are, you aren’t the only one who set that resolution and finding folks to share ideas with and cheer you on will help you reach your goal. It’s really no surprise that there are hundreds of online forums for going gluten free, it’s really hard and it’s far easier with support.