Resolutions, shmesolutions…or something like that.
I was never much for making resolutions. Sometime last year I got a bit sidetracked on my health goals and lost some of the steam I had going when I was lifting heavy on a regular basis and following a super clean diet. It happens to all of us. In fact, researchers have found that most people start backsliding on their resolutions by February until it eventually peters out by mid-year.
There are ways to help make your resolutions stick. Developing healthy habits take some time, but once you start seeing the results of your hard work, it’ll be easier to stay motivated and on track. Seeing my progress on a run or lift always helps me get back on the bandwagon.
You toasted to the new year on January 1st (cheers!), and then made a resolution to lose weight or to take up strength training, or maybe you wanted to see what’s so great about meditation- that’s awesome! High five you! Let’s make sure you accomplish those goals and then some with these 6 tips.
Break up your bigger goal into tiny bite-size milestones
Have you ever walked into a gym with a head full of thoughts that you’d walk out of there slimmer, stronger, faster, more confident and happy, in no time? Then you get to work and realize how much it feels like…work. Setting big goals is fantastic. I would encourage you to aim high and shoot for that always. The really important step that many people skip when they set out to tackle their resolutions is to set realistic standards. Splitting up a large goal into smaller attainable milestones over time helps you stay motivated and on track, especially if you start out strong in January and find your commitment petering out a few months later. Dedicating yourself to lose 2-4 pounds a week at a time versus trying to lose 20 pounds in a month is both safe and sensible. Overextending yourself earlier in your plan is more likely to lead to burnout or worse, increase your risk for injury.
Get yourself an accountabilty partner.
There’s nothing better than having someone you can turn to and talk about your goals. Teaming up with a trusted friend or coworker to swap stories about your progress can help you stay focused, while also giving your mood and energy levels a nice boost. Choose someone who is reliable and will be there for you for those quick check-ins. It’s even better if you’re able to partner up with them on their goals too. Studies show that if one close friend or romantic partner is dedicated to a nutritious diet and exercise, it significantly increases the chance that those healthy habits will rub off on the other.
Bust boredom by switching it up.
There is no one-size approach to healthy living and you’re not required to stick to one kind of exercise program or diet to achieve your goals. As much as I enjoy strength training, I make it a point to try something completely new every few months to keep my active lifestyle fresh and fun. And a lot of it doesn’t have to cost you an extra dime! Hiking, bike riding, swimming, Bollywood dancing, underwater spinning (yes, this is a thing, believe it) : find a combo that works great for you and keeps inspiring you to keep moving.
Share your success!
This is one scenario where it’s okay to overshare. Tweet it. Post it. Gram it. Vine it. Call a friend if social media isn’t your thing. If you’ve hit a milestone that you’re especially proud of, don’t be shy to share that with the world! Celebrating a well-earned success reinforces your goal and makes you feel pretty great. Added bonus: your success story helps inspire others who need their own boost to get started. Yay you!
Problem getting organized? There’s an app for that.
This year is a big one for wearable devices and the apps that go with which can track all of your movements, how many calories you’ve burned, what you’ve eaten, how many glasses of water you’ve drank and help connect you with other like-minded resolutioners working to meet their goals. At under $100, you can pick up a Fitbit or Jawbone UP, or even a Leapfrog for your child and make it a family affair. If wearables are one tech step too far for you, then consider using a notes app to jot down your workouts and recent successes.
Be honest with yourself.
You’ve been running for months and still feel like you haven’t lost enough weight. Your experiment with the paleo diet went a bit haywire (been there!). Not everything goes as planned. And that’s okay. Take the time to assess where you are with your goals and be honest about what’s truly working. Are you happy with the work involved? Are you enjoying yourself? Do you feel motivated and energized to stick to your goal? If you’re answer is no to any of those questions than it’s time to reconsider your course of action. You have the right to switch things around if they’re not working with you. There’s no rules against this. A lot can happen in a couple of months. Maybe your priorities have changed or your life situation has become a bit easier or more complicated than when you first set your resolutions. Taking the time to be honest with yourself about where you are with your goals and if you’re still aligned with them is an important step towards success.
These are just 6 tips to help you stick to your resolutions, but there are plenty of neat hacks and exercises you can do to stay focused. Just check out some of the science-backed ones below. Creating new habits takes time and effort. Fortunately for you, you’ve already taken the all-important first step towards a healthier you. Happy New Year!
What are your resolutions this year? How are you planning to meet your healthy goals? What’s your favorite tip on how to stay on track with resolutions?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to share in the comments below.