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How To Stick To Your New Year’s Fitness & Weight Loss Resolutions

Tradition dictates that the New Year is the perfect time to resolve to end a destructive habit or begin a new healthy routine.  Making a resolution, however, is doomed to fail if you are not truly prepared or willing to change.  There are several ways to ensure that a New Year’s resolution lasts beyond the first couple weeks of January.  In fact, it is possible to make a change that lasts a lifetime.

  • Make several small and specific goals, not a large vague one.  Rather than making your resolution “get skinny” or “eat healthy,” decide on a few very defined achievements you wish to make.  If you want to lose weight, you will lose 2 lbs a week until hitting your goal.  If you want to eat healthy, state that you will have one treat a day and only after lunch.  By outlining your plan, it makes it far easier to follow.
  • Work on the inside as well as the outside.  No fitness or weight loss plan will ever succeed until your heart and mind are in it.  You need to know why you are not currently in the shape you wish to be and how you got to that point.  If you do not deal with the issues that made you unhealthy in the first place then you will never succeed.
  • Incorporate your goal into your life.  Take a moment every morning, look in the mirror and remind yourself of your goal.  Write a few keywords on a post it and stick them in places where you will see them daily (refrigerator door, computer monitor at work, etc).  Set an alert on your phone for the same time every day as a reminder and for accountability.  Never allow yourself forget about your resolution.
  • Take the long way around.  While the New Year may begin with a burst of enthusiasm and energy, try not to go gung-ho out of the gate with your fitness plan.  Not only could you injure yourself, you will likely overwork your muscles, making them sore and can lead to excuses to not continue.  A proper workout will leave you sore at the end and shortly after, but not the next day.  Slow and steady will win this race.
  • Choose consequences and rewards.  Human nature is nothing if not predictable and most of us learn as children that we are rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad.  If you complete all your workouts for a month, buy yourself a gift for your hard work such as a massage or a new pair of shoes.  If you skip a few sessions at the gym, you cannot spoil yourself.  Do not, however, use food or exercise as rewards or punishments; this can lead to a slippery slope of either giving up or disordered habits.
  • Do it together.  Find an accountability partner, whether a friend, relative or your significant other.  When one of you is ready to give up the other may be motivated to continue and drag you out of your funk.  Just be sure you choose someone who wants to succeed as much as you – or you will just be enabling each other to quit.
  • Visualize and realize.  Create a list of your fitness goals such as “run a 5K” or “do 100 squats daily.”  Frame the list and hang it where you will see it, or post them on social media.  Putting it in writing and looking at it will push you to achieve your goals.  Whenever you hit a checkpoint or make progress, write it down as well.  You will see what you have accomplished and it will encourage you to plow ahead until you reach your goal.

Making a New Year’s Resolution is not difficult but sticking to it can be the hardest thing you ever do.  While many give up within the first couple months, following the above steps can help you keep your goals for not only the year but the rest of your life.