Picture a world where everyone keeps their New Year’s resolutions. Everyone you know is 15 pounds lighter, there’s a waiting list at the gym and kale is at the top of every fast food menu.
The New Year is a great time to make some goals to improve your health and fitness, but let’s be honest, most people will lose their ambition after only a few weeks. In fact, according to U.S. News, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. If you want to make those resolutions last this year, you’re going to need to be strategic about it.
After a week – or a month – of holiday indulgence, it’s easy to make lofty, or even extreme, resolutions. But if you’re planning to lose 40 pounds by Valentine’s Day, or spend 30 hours per week in the gym, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Think about your past year and be realistic about what you can achieve in the near future. Keep in mind that an attainable goal is also measurable. So if your list includes “being healthier,” it’s time to get specific — eat six servings of vegetables a day, or hit that spin class three times per week.
A list can also help to ease into your resolutions. If you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in three years, it’s a bit unrealistic to say you’ll be there every day at 5 a.m. Instead, start with a class twice a week and work up from there. New Year’s resolutions are all about self-improvement, no matter how small the steps.
Bring a friend
Achieving your goals can be a long, lonely process. Some days, you might wake up fueled for an epic HIIT workout. Others, you’ll lay in bed dreaming of a Big Mac. If you want to keep your motivation flowing, recruit a training buddy to join in on your workouts. According to Men’s Fitness, a training partner can keep you accountable, make exercise more fun, push you to work out harder and give you an always-accessible spotter in the weight room.
The same idea works for your diet. Solicit the help of a friend looking to shed a few pounds, and make realistic goals together. Swap recipes, talk each other out of those french fries and report your successes (and even your failures) regularly.
Track your progress
As they say, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you want your resolutions to stick this year, you can start by holding yourself accountable. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds by changing your diet, you can start by keeping a food diary every day and weighing yourself once a week. This will help you determine whether you’re on track or if it’s time to change your strategy. If you’re looking to build some muscle, bring a notebook and pencil to the weight room to track your reps and weights. This won’t just give you tactical information from which you can adjust your goal plan; it’ll also serve as motivation to keep you going as you start seeing progress.
Do you have a good tip for making weight loss resolutions stick? If you've found something that works, share it in the comments.
Please consult with your physician before starting any workout regime to ensure the exercise is safe and right for you.