How to Use Your Senses to Keep Your Resolution

Once the final gifts have been opened, the focus shifts to the holiday season’s grandest of finales: New Year’s. And with that comes resolutions. Hopes are high when the clock strikes midnight, but University of Scranton researchers found that only 8 percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions.

This year, give resolutions the full-court press treatment by using your senses to make ‘em work. Guided therapeutic imagery is widely practiced by mental health practitioners. The method uses the human senses to help elicit specific physiologic changes within the body such as relaxation techniques, weight loss goals, pain management or other mental health issues. Now it’s your turn.

Vision

Seeing is believing image: kcslagle

Seeing is believing image: kcslagle

The power of imagery and envisioning yourself into the person you’d like to become is every young grasshopper’s favorite adage. A great example for using your vision sense to achieve a New Year’s goal is by posting a picture of yourself or a fitness role model on your fridge. You’ll face this constant reminder of your goals every day, which can motivate you to stay on track (and steer clear of a second helping of pie).

Taste

One cheat meal a week can keep cravings at bay image: svetikd

One cheat meal a week can keep cravings at bay image: svetikd

Getting a grip on eating habits is a popular choice for New Year’s resolutions. Food options are endless; double cheeseburgers for lunch, danishes as a snack in the cafeteria at work, a few cocktails here and there during happy hour. I recommend rewarding yourself with an indulgent snack on special occasions only. By limiting your taste buds to dessert at your favorite restaurant once a week will hopefully prevent splurging on more frequent and easy alternatives throughout the week.

Hearing

Closeup od woman setting the music playlist for the workout

To help jumpstart your workout routine I suggest playing your gym music when you’re snuggled on your couch and debating whether you want to go to the gym. Hearing music usually associated with an intense gym routine can be the trigger to help you get moving.

Smell

A Sunday well-spent brings a week full of delicious, healthy content image: antoniotruzzi

A Sunday well-spent brings a week full of delicious, healthy content image: antoniotruzzi

Sunday is every person’s favorite lazy day (football! Netflix! brunch!), but this year let’s try to make it “prep for the week with healthy meals day.” I advise making batches of dessert on Sunday, that way it will last you or your family through the week. Making low carb, honey instead of sugar, and granola-based desserts at home will help quench your high sugar cravings during the week. This requires a degree of self-control; when you’re faced with a difficult alternative try to smell your pre-cooked baked goods and in that moment opt for your more calorie and health conscious meal.

Tell us: What’s your game plan for 2017? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

dr. uruj kamal

dr. uruj kamal

Dr. Uruj Kamal is a second year resident in Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine. A Stony Brook native, she enjoys combining her knowledge of mental health and awareness with her passion for health, fitness and beauty. In her spare time, enjoys fashion, kayaking on West Meadow Beach, and creating westernized-Asian recipes.