Once the glorious treat-filled and calorie-laden holiday season comes to a sudden end, many of us begin looking toward the new year with fresh resolve – we’re going to eat better, live better, learn better and simply be better. The days preceding January 1st are a mad rush to indulge in the very vices we intend to leave behind – one final chocolatey, couch-potatoey hurrah! It’s no surprise that weight loss and fitness related goals are the most common new year’s resolutions, but the overnight decision to make a lifestyle change leads to an astoundingly high failure rate. This may be the only instance where you don’t want to fit in; here are some tips to help keep you going strong as everyone else’s resolve fades.
Set Reasonable Goals
Sometimes our abilities don’t match our ideals, and that’s okay. The important thing is to understand and accept our limitations so we’re not too discouraged if we fail to achieve our all-too-lofty goals. An example of an unreasonable resolution is to hope for washboard abs by the summer if you’re currently 25lbs overweight. For healthy long term results take your time and take small steps. Quick, drastic results, besides being inadvisable, don’t last very long for a reason. Very often the lifestyle required to get them is impossible or unhealthy to maintain, or has not had the time to become habit or routine.
If your new year’s resolution is something along the lines of “losing weight”, “eating better”, or “exercising more”, it’s probably a little too broad to offer much guidance. A more helpful resolution would be one that ultimately leads to your overall goal; if you’re objective is to eat better, your resolution may be to cut out refined sugar, switch to brown rice or add more fresh vegetables to your diet. These very specific statements offer a direct and unambiguous way you can act on and attain your goal.
As we make small, doable behavior and lifestyle changes, soon enough we can expect to see corresponding results. Marking small achievements along the way will help keep you on the road to bigger milestones. Mini milestones can be small measurable accomplishments, such as losing 5lbs, a dress size or a few inches, or can mark time-related progress, such as 30 days of daily walks or one week caffeine-free.
Sharing Your Goals
You’ll find conflicting advice about whether you should share your fitness goals with friends and loved ones or keep them to yourself. Different people respond differently, and it all depends on what works best for you. Do you enjoy the support and accountability that sharing your resolution will invite? Or do you prefer to keep your plans private to avoid feeling pressured or judged by the curious and overly “helpful?” This is a matter dependent entirely upon personality and preference.
If your new year’s resolution involves a lifestyle change, make sure you have the tools at hand to make it successful. Rather than wait until January 1st to rip off the band-aid, begin laying the foundation ahead of time by stocking up on healthy snacks, creating a workout playlist and making every possible preparation before embarking on your new journey. When it comes to improving ourselves and our lives, it’s one of the most important we can make.