According to the Huffington Post, 40-45% of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them six months later. In fact, many Americans now make New Year’s resolutions believing they will fail. A little depressing huh?
So how can resolution-makers prevent themselves from becoming one of “maybe next year” group? When it comes to the ever-popular resolution of getting fit and losing weight, beginning with realistic goals is the first step.
Resolutions should be achievable and sustainable. Running 10 miles every day for a year is probably not sustainable. Running at least one mile four days a week is much more realistic. If weight loss is the aim, people should set time-specific goals, like losing 18 pounds within the first six months. This makes the process seem much less daunting and prevents procrastination.
Below are a few more tips for actually sticking to New Year’s fitness resolutions.
Write it Down & Publicize It
Fully commit to resolutions by putting them in print and sharing them with the others. People trying to exercise more may want to tape a sign on their bedroom mirror along with motivational quotes and pictures. Having a physical reminder that says, “Yoga three times a week”, will help keep exercisers inspired. With such a reminder, it’d be difficult to look in the mirror without feeling guilty after missing a few weeks of yoga.
Resolution makers should also tell a spouse or close friend of their goal and ask for support. When people state their resolution aloud, it makes it seem more real and ensures that there will be others available for help and encouragement.
Getting into shape or losing weight is far from easy. It requires a lot of time and effort and the results are not always obvious. Thus, it’s important to track your progress. Weigh-ins, measurements, exercise tests are all concrete ways to gauge improvement, but there are simpler ways. Track how far you run, your mile time, how many sit-ups you can do, etc. These are great indicators of fitness level.
Keeping tabs of calories and exercise is motivating and essential to success. Use a calendar or check out many of the technological options for tracking.
An old-school calendar is a great way to record daily exercise and food intake. There are calorie counting guides with places for each meal and lists of calorie amounts for typical foods, or if people prefer to keep it simple, use a basic pocket notebook.
Technology lovers may prefer online programs or calorie counting/exercise tracking applications for their smartphones. Nutrition apps like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are great for tracking calories and exercise. Using these tools will keep users mindful of the food they’re putting in to their bodies. There are a variety of exercise applications to track running, weightlifting, biking, etc. Popular apps are RunKeeper, iTreadmill, GymGoal, and Authentic Yoga.
No one is superman (or woman). Staying committed to New Year’s resolutions isn’t easy and putting in the effort to reach fitness goals day in and day-out is exhausting. Exercisers need to take time to reward themselves. After meeting that first goal of losing 18lbs by the six month mark, it’s time for new workout gear. After an especially tough workout, lock the bathroom door and light some candles for a warm bath.
Starvation and slaving away on the treadmill aren’t going to make anyone meet their resolution any sooner—they’ll demotivate and lead to failure. Take time to pat yourself on the back…or indulge in a little dark chocolate (like some authors).
About the Author
Guest author, Maggie Voelker is a health nut and science nerd with a BS in Kinesiology and Health. She lives and works in Indianapolis, IN as a content writer for a sunglasses provider. Her most recent work includes an online sun safety resource and she hopes to continue to produce health-related content. Outside of work Maggie enjoys running, yoga, live music, traveling, and (attempting) to cook.