Each January, millions of Americans start their New Year with well-intentioned resolutions to improve their health and wellness. Resolutions are motivating and usually easy to start, but sustaining them can be a challenge. This may account for the mere 8% of “resolutionaries” who successfully achieve their goals. So, how do we avoid becoming a New Year’s statistic and keep up the momentum? Here are some easy tips to help you beat the odds and turn your resolutions into reality.
1. Be Specific
“Exercising” and “eating better” are great starting points, but they may be too vague to keep you going throughout the year. Instead, consider dividing your overall resolutions into more specific goals such as, “go to the gym 3 days a week” or “reduce my daily caloric intake by 500.” Tangible objectives will give you a better sense of control and progress management, which will help you stay on track.
2. Make a Plan
Take a look at your calendar and come up with a resolution schedule. Decide which days of the week you are going to work out or try a new recipe and mark them clearly. When planning, be sure to take into account your daily responsibilities and leave plenty of time for family, friends and relaxation. If you strive for a goal that is reasonable, you’re less likely to burn yourself out and decrease your chances of success.
3. Track Your Progress
According to JCC’s dietitian expert, Amy Rinehart, the best advice for keeping your fitness goals is by holding yourself accountable. A great way to do this is by writing down and tracking your progress. Now that you have come up with a weekly plan, cross off the days you complete your goals as you go. By logging your exercise and meals each day, your resolution has a better chance of becoming a lifestyle and not a just a quick-fix solution.
4. Take Advantage of Technology
Don’t let your tech addiction distract you from attaining your goals. Instead, make it work to your advantage by utilizing the many health and fitness resources available online. For healthy eating tips and recipes, Amy recommends two of her favorite websites, eatingwell.com and cookinglight.com. She also suggests finding an app for your mobile phone or tablet designed to monitor and track your fitness and diet objectives. Apps like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! can help you estimate calories needed for weight loss based on your individual needs and activity level.
5. Find a Friend
We are social beings by nature and often benefit from the motivation and support of others. Invite a friend or family member with similar goals to run with you once a week or attend a group exercise class together. By including another person, you make yourself more accountable by committing to a friend or group who rely on you.
6. Ask for Help
Are you hesitant about going to the gym alone? Chances are you know someone who already belongs to a fitness facility near you. Ask them to bring you as a guest for a day so you can get a feel for the environment. In some cases, the help from professionals can enhance your progress. Personal trainers and nutrition experts can offer services that will keep you motivated and on top of your goals.
7. Reward Yourself
It’s general knowledge that positive reinforcement encourages progress, so make sure you treat yourself once in a while on your journey toward resolve. If you’ve stuck to your schedule for the month, make an appointment for a massage or pick up that book you’ve dying to read. Just be sure that your reward doesn’t contradict your resolutions, like eating 3 brownies your co-worker brought to the office when you’re trying to eat healthier.
8. Don’t Give Up!
Breaking old habits is not an easy task, but psychologists say that new behaviors become lifestyles after 21 days. So remember, if you’ve made it to February, the hardest part is over! Be easy on yourself and know that you will likely slip up from time to time. Take your resolutions one day at a time and you’re bound to have long-term success.
The Mayerson JCC wants to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. Learn more about our Fitness Facilities, Group Exercise Classes, and J Spa services here