6 Tips for Keeping your New Year’s Resolution to Stay Fit
The word “resolution” implies that you are resolved to do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal. However, resolutions have the connotation of being wishful thoughts that you would like to come true and may diligently pursue for a while. For the average person, resolve typically fizzles out within about six to eight weeks. One way to avoid that is to change workout plans often so you do not burn
The problem for most people is that they try to accomplish goals without committing to developing the habits required for meeting success. There is nothing magical about January 1st. In the past, if you have been a person who does not exercise or watch what you eat, you cannot expect to reverse years of negative behaviors overnight. In order to get and stay fit, sustainable and lasting lifestyle changes must occur.
1. Write Down Your Goals.
Goals that are on paper have a greater sense of permanence and urgency than do those that are floating around in your mind. Penning
your plans helps you work through the process of formulating goals and keeping your focus. Furthermore, you have something to reference along your journey of health and fitness.
It is critical that goals have several factors. They must be specific, measurable, and attainable. A goal stated as, “I want to get fit” is far too general. How will you measure fitness and know whether or not you have attained it? Something specific might be reducing your body fat by two percent or increasing your lean muscle mass by four pounds. Even the notion to lose weight is too vague. Make your goals as specific as possible.
The next step to successful goal setting is determining how you will measure your progress. A goal such as being healthy is not truly measurable. The most effective way to measure your progress is to keep an online workout log. Resolving to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night can be tracked and measured. A two-point increase in your VO2 max can be measured. If you cannot measure your success, you will never know if you have achieved it.
Lastly, be sure that your goals are attainable. Going from couch potato to Ironman triathlete is probably not a realistic resolution. Someone who is not a runner can resolve to run a mile without stopping and work to get there over time. Change will not happen overnight. Have a friend examine your goals to help you judge whether or not they are realistically attainable for you in your current life situation.
2. Build a Support Team
Having the support and encouragement of friends and family members can make all of the difference regarding the success or failure of your resolutions. If you are trying to cut back on your alcohol intake, suggest fun alternatives to your happy hour crew. If you want to increase your caloric burn, recruit your friends to spend active, quality time together that does not revolve around food. During holidays, volunteer to cook a healthy dish.
It is important that your support team understand what you are trying to accomplish and why. Your mom will be less pushy about you eating her desserts if she knows that you are reducing your sugar intake to prevent diabetes. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will move you closer to your destination rather than farther from it.
3. Chart Your Progress
There is nothing more encouraging than to see how much closer you have come to reaching your goal. If you are trying to lose weight, set a regular weigh-in time and day each week. Write down your weight each time so that you can see if your efforts are fruitful. If the scale is tipping in the wrong direction, examine which behaviors have influenced the numbers.
It may be helpful to keep a food journal and workout log. Tracking diet and exercise holds you accountable to making necessary changes and makes you less likely to cheat. This keeps you honest about what you are eating as well as how much you are working out.
4. Start Small
Small steps can equal big results. If you want to increase your level of physical activity each day, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from buildings, so that you are forced to walk more. Strap on a pedometer and aim to take a greater number of steps each day. Do calf raises while you wash dishes or lunges while watching TV.
For dietary changes, pick one area to focus on until you have mastered it. Start by cutting back on sodas until you have eliminated them completely. Next, swap one of your junk food binges for a healthy alternative. For example, replace salty potato chips with roasted nuts or trail mix. Over time, each small change will yield increasing results that equal a healthier way of life.
5. Treat Your Resolutions Like Your Job
Put in as much effort to keeping your resolutions as you do with your job. In other words, schedule your workouts, plan your meals, and avoid anything that derails your success. Plan to exercise at a time when nothing else will get in the way. This may mean that you have to sacrifice sleep or record your favorite TV show, but the payoff will be worth it.
Plan and cook meals in advance so that you are not tempted to reach for junk food when hunger strikes. Allow yourself some indulgences, but overall, be disciplined on a daily basis. You get paid for performance and output at your job. Likewise, you should reward yourself when you reach another milestone in your fitness journey. Use things other than food as your rewards. Buy something you have been wanting or escape for some relaxing time alone or with friends.
6. Be Patient
Change does not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. You may see big progress some days while experiencing plateaus at other times. The support of your friends and family will be vital during the tough moments when you want to throw in the towel.
Make this year the year you actually stick to your resolutions by implementing them as a healthy way of life.
Author Bio: Emily P. is a freelance writer and a fitness enthusiast. She uses weight loss calculator in order to know exactly what she needs to do in order to lose those few pounds.