Tips for Sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions

Not surprisingly, the #1 New Year’s Resolution in America is to lose weight. We are constantly bombarded by the weight loss industry with commercials, radio ads, billboards and more, reminding us how we need to lose weight. Making your fitness a priority is always a great idea, and not just because it’s a new year.

If it’s your New Year’s resolution to get in shape, exercise more, or lose weight, we have some tips to help you along the way.

  1. Be Realistic: Don’t set goals that are out of reach no matter how hard you try. Shoot for smaller goals that can be accomplished gradually, rather than one lofty goal that’ll seem too hard before much time has passed. Although you may want to lose 150 pounds, making it a resolution to lose that in one year is too much. Instead, try setting a series of smaller weight loss goals – such as to lose 10 pounds, or 10% of your body weight as a starting point. When you achieve the smaller goal, it makes you more motivated to shoot for the next smaller goal. (And that’s way better than setting a giant goal and failing.)
  2. Find Exercise You Enjoy: You hate exercise? We’ve heard that before. But don’t quit, there’s something out there for you, you just need to find it.  If your resolution is to workout at the gym every morning, but you hate the gym, you’ll never achieve that goal. Start by making a list of at least 5 possible activities that you might enjoy. Running, tennis, karate, zumba, aerobics, swimming… the possibilities are endless. Make a list, and then pick one activity to try, and do it 3 times a week for two weeks. If at the end of the two weeks, it’s not the activity for you, then move down the list to the next one. But don’t just try it once and quit – give it a fair try. Finding an exercise that you’ll enjoy doing is crucial to sticking with an exercise program.
  3.  Don’t make any change you can’t live with forever. The biggest mistake people make with diet and exercise is to start a program that helps them lose weight quickly, but is impossible to live with forever. (I’m looking at you, Atkins.) Yes, you may initially lose weight and feel good about it, but when you switch back to regular food or regular eating, that weight will immediately come back – and then some. If you choose a diet that restricts you to the point that you can’t eat any of your favorite foods, you will fail and fail quickly. It isn’t about will power – it’s about finding something that works AND finding something you can live with. If you can’t live with it forever, it’s not worth doing.
  4.  Ask for help when you need it. Don’t try to do this alone, we all need support. It’s hard to eat right when well-intentioned friends and family are dishing out plates of brownies and high calorie foods. Share your goals with the people you love so they can support you instead of sabotage you. If sticking with an exercise program will be hard, find a friend to workout together. Sign up for a race to keep you from quitting on your running goals. Don’t go the course alone, having a circle of support will always be more effective.

Here’s to wishing you the very best in 2013, and hoping you meet all your fitness goals!