If you're like most Americans, then chances are you'll make a resolution to get more fit once the clock strikes twelve on January 1. In fact, one in three Americans resolve to improve their health each year, which explains why your gym is so crowded come the New Year.
Making a goal to improve your fitness and health is an inspiring way to start 2018, however the frustrating reality is that most resolutions are broken with the first few months of the year. A recent study showed that less than half of people were successful in reaching their New Year's fitness goals.
It might be hard to keep up the enthusiasm once the winter blues kick in, but that doesn't mean you have to be a quitter. Below are some tips to help you stay on track with your new goals.
1. Be Realistic
Create a goal that's not only realistic, but also manageable. Giving up your favorite dessert cold turkey, or committing to exercising at the gym everyday if you're a fitness newbie is just setting yourself up for failure. Take a look at your lifestyle, in addition to your fitness level, and strive for a goal that's achievable. Maybe it's treating yourself to dessert only once a week, or maybe it's to keep moving everyday, even if that includes walking around the block each morning. Whatever it is, determine what is realistic for you.
2. Be Specific
How will you know if you're making any progress if you don't have a clear goal? Your goals can vary from desiring to be at targeted weight to wanting to feel more energetic throughout the day. If you want to lose weight, you'll first want to decide how much weight you want to lose per week and then determine how long you plan on losing weight.
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3. Create Short Term Goals
Once you've decided how much weight you want to lose, you should create a set of short terms goals. Short term goals are not only easier to achieve, but they also help keep you motivated for your bigger ones. For example, instead of focusing on your long-term goal of losing 30 pounds by April, focus on losing two to three pounds per week in January. Baby steps are key!
4. Reward Yourself
Whenever you achieve a short-term goal, reward yourself. That doesn't mean treating yourself to a cheeseburger and fries, especially if your goal is to improve your eating habits. Keep your rewards aligned with your goals. It could be something like rewarding yourself with new running shoes, or going to a meditation retreat with a friend. Rewarding yourself helps you to stay motivated, while also reminding you that hard work pays off.
5. Make it Social
Exercising with a friend, or in a class dynamic, has been proven to help people commit to working out. Enlist your friend who's also been wanting to work on her fitness and create a fitness schedule and goal sheet that works for both of you. Or join a fitness class that's always interested you, like boxing, running, or Pilates. You might even treat yourself to a few sessions with a personal trainer. Whatever it is, find someone who can help hold you accountable to your goals.
Sticking to a new goal, especially one that includes creating a change in lifestyle, always has its challenges. The important thing is to not beat yourself up when slip ups occur - because they will. Instead focus on one day at a time, and remember that change doesn't come overnight. With consistency and commitment, you can be the exception to the rule, and actually keep your New Year's fitness resolution. Here's to your health and fitness in 2018!
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