Lose 10 pounds. Complete a marathon. Do an obstacle course competition. Keep up with the grandkids. Eat healthier. It doesn’t matter what your fitness and healthy New Year’s resolution is odds are you will fail. In fact, statistics show that only 46% of people that make New Year’s resolutions keep them past six months.
But for those that stick it out for the year and reach their goals, fitness becomes part of their lifestyle.
Part of our resolution this year is to help everyone achieve their health and fitness resolutions. To help get you started, here are six tips to help you keep your resolutions this year.
Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T
Make your resolutions are S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. Resolutions should be specific and quantifiable to ensure you stay on track. In fact, studies have shown that setting vague goals can make people depressed—not the desired outcome of starting fresh in 2017 Simply Writing down your goals can also help you figure out the exact steps needed to get there and tracking your progress along the way can help keep you focused.
Make them Manageable
The key to successful habit changes is to move gradually. If your goal is to go from never running to finishing a marathon, start with walking a few miles a couple of times a week, increase to jogging, and then running over several months–remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Want to bench 245 pounds. Great. Start by doing smaller workloads and increasing the weight by a couple of pounds every workout. Don’t go from benching the bar to loading it in one workout—you’re inviting failure and injury.
Question Your Motives
Hitting the gym can certainly give you a beach-ready body, but superficial goals are far harder to buy into than those that have a deeper meaning and longer healthy returns. Regular exercise has unexpected benefits including lowering blood pressure, pumping up your energy, and even increasing mental focus and happiness. Bringing some deeper meaning to your workout can make all the difference in sticking to your goals while making you look better in a bikini at the same time.
Don’t Go It Alone
Now sure how to reach your end goal? Wondering how to cut carbs and not starve? Don’t know how to do an individual exercise that you read about in a book? Schedule a session with a personal trainer to clear up the confusion, help prevent injury, and learn to love new moves. Don’t want one-on-one training, try a class (and get extra motivation from others in the class). Trainers, instructors, and other fitness pros are there to help, so don’t be self-conscious about asking for advice.
Reevaluate Resolutions Often
Your goal was to run a marathon, but oh God you hate long runs. Did you resolve to take up yoga but you want a little more intensity? A lot of things seem fun from the outside, but might not be a good fit once you’re in the middle of it. That’s fine. There are plenty of ways to stay healthy and fit. Just switch and keep on moving. Remember the method isn’t the resolution, the feeling is.
Remember It’s a Long Road
There will be times you’ll slip up. You’ll eat that cake. You’ll miss that run. Heck, you may even want to hit the alarm on occasion and sleep in instead of doing a class before work. That’s OK. Forgive yourself and just get back to it the next day. But, also, when you hit those hard-earned mini-goals along the way—10 workouts in a row, your best time in a mile or even trying that first hot yoga class —reward yourself. Pick something fun (a weekend away, a mani-pedi or a new pair of sneakers). This will not only keep you happy but help you stay motivated during the process.