It’s the end of the year, you are reflecting on the good and bad and beginning to make your goals and resolutions for the New Year. You start off all fired up with great plans and expectations and then by some chance, either time restraints, stress, frustration – within a month or two (or even a week or two) you find that you have either broken or totally given up on them. This year can be different…stop the cycle of resolving to make change and then not following through. If your resolution is to take better care of yourself and get healthier, then here are 10 tips to help you not only get started, but also to stick with it.
- Be Realistic – The quickest way to fall short of your goal is to make it unrealistic. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite “bad” food all year is setting you up to instant failure. Instead, resolve to cut back on your favorite bad food and save it for special occasions or a treat for success.
- Plan Ahead – Don’t make your resolutions on New Year’s Eve. If you wait until the last minute, it will be based on impulse and whatever your mindset is at that particular moment (like I need to shed these holiday pounds as fast as possible). Instead, it should be planned at the beginning of December or even wait until a few days into the New Year after you have had time to regroup from all the holiday festivities and have a clear mindset and plan. Make your goals realistic and lifestyle changes not just temporary fixes.
- Outline Your Plan – Write or enter your workout times into your daily calendar as an appointment. That way they are scheduled into your day as a part of your events. You are less likely to cancel it if you have a reminder. Schedule a workout with a buddy, you don’t want to let them down so you are more apt to show up if you know they are waiting on you. Be prepared…go ahead each week and have a plan of attack on how you will deal with the temptation to have that piece of cake or bad food that is calling your name. Plan to have healthy snack alternatives ready to eat (such as fruit, veggies, yogurt, low-fat cheese, etc.) so that you are armed and ready the moment that temptation comes. Also, have an accountability friend that you can call on for help when temptation comes. Many times when we crave bad foods we are just bored or stressed – sometimes talking and laughing with a friend can get your mind off food all together.
- Make a “Pros” and “Cons” List – It may help to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time and keep it with you and refer to it when you need help keeping on track. For healthy resolutions you will find that your “Pro” list will very much outweigh your “Cons” list.
- Talk About It – Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support you. The best-case scenario is to find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and motivate each other. Putting it out there will not only hold you accountable, it may also help people not to accidently sabotage your efforts by adding unwelcomed temptations.
- Reward Yourself – This doesn’t mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates or an entire large pizza (if your resolution is to eat a better). Instead, celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution. If you have been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, reward yourself with new fitness clothes, an outfit, a golf outing, going to a movie with a friend, etc.
- Track Your Progress – Keep track of each small success. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and each small accomplishment will keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five or just losing each week. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track. Do no weigh yourself every day. Plan to weigh once a week in the morning at the same time. Also, if you started a weight lifting regime or exercise that involves weights, don’t go by the scales alone. Measure yourself because muscle weighs more than fat and even though the scale may not show significant weight loss, you may find you are losing inches.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up – Worrying over every slip up won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time. In your food journal, circle the foods you wish you did not eat that day and then try to do better the following day. An occasional slip up is expected (especially in a long term goal) so just bounce back and move on…tomorrow is a new day. If you feel you cannot forgive yourself, walk an extra ½ mile, do an extra few reps, etc. to make up for a little of the guilt.
- Stick to It – Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient! Again, we are going for lifestyle change here more than instant short term gratification.
- Keep Trying – If you have totally run out of steam when it comes to keeping your resolution by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! Recommit yourself for 24 hours. You can do anything for 24 hours and will soon be back on track. Or if you need to, adjust or tweak your goal – sometimes what you thought was a “realistic” goal in the beginning may have still been a little too much…slow and steady and lifestyle based will always work better in the long term.
If you feel that even with these 10 tips you could still use some motivation and encouragement, never fear, we here at Bodyrich Fitness Company would be glad to help you reach your fitness goals. We offer one-on-one or group sessions with one of our Certified Personal Trainers who will listen to you, work around your schedule and your goals. We would love to help you make 2015 your healthiest year ever. Feel free to contact us today for a free consultation and introductory workout – appointments are available now! 678-417-0880 ext. 8301 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Certified Fitness Trainer and Fitness Nutritionist