Clients are always asking me how I feel about New Year’s Resolutions. I think they are great as long as they are done properly! Unfortunately, most are doomed from the start for a variety of reasons. According to a study by the University of Scranton, just 8 percent of people have successful resolutions.
So here are five ways you can stick to your New Year’s Resolutions!
1. Be Realistic
So many times I’ve said I would never drink again, never eat desserts again, and work out every single day for the rest of my life. Then a week would go by, I’d have a beer (or 30), consume a vegan pumpkin pie by myself, while only working out twice. So that year was over before the week was done.
So let’s not make unrealistic expectations next year. Even the fittest and healthiest people on the planet miss workouts and have a cheat meal once in a while.
Another issue with this way of thinking is the focus on the “not.” Instead of planning what I was NOT going to do, I should have been focusing on what I WOULD be doing. For instance, instead of quitting cupcakes, my goal should have been to eat three fruits and three vegetables every day.
2. Be Specific
“That’s it; I’m going to be healthy this year!” Healthy is far too vague, and also dips into the unrealistic category once you eat a cookie. Similar to what I mentioned above, it’s important to focus on what exactly you are going to do in order to be “healthy.”
One suggestion is to create a spreadsheet where you check off the specific food categories you need to eat each day (three vegetables, three fruits, two whole grains, legumes, etc.), as well as check-offs for the amount of times you want to work out each week.
3. Have Short-Term Goals and Long-Term Goals
Real change doesn’t take place overnight. So if your goal is to lose 50 pounds in 2014, break this down into smaller goals like losing four pounds a month. I have found that people who crash diet and over-train are typically the ones to put all of the weight, and more, back on. Another reason for segmenting your plan is to keep things positive at different points when the weight isn’t falling off.
4. Get Support!
You don’t have to do this alone! Tell your friends and family what your goals are, join a Meetup hiking group, or put up pictures and check-in posts on your social media pages to keep yourself motivated and others informed of your ongoing success!
And from a professional standpoint, I recommend hiring a personal trainer and/or getting a therapist, depending on what your issues and goals are. If you’re not sure why you’re an emotional eater, or how to eat and train properly, why not get an expert to help you out? The motivation should come from within, but let others help you get educated so you don’t wind up in the same spot again.
5. Celebrate your successes along the way!
An important part of the process is positive reinforcement, so make sure you congratulate yourself every time you reach a milestone! For every ten pounds you lose, treat yourself to a healthy meal at a restaurant, or buy yourself a new workout outfit. Since motivation ebbs and flows, it’s important to have frequent check-ins along the way to keep you moving forward.
So hopefully this helps! Feel free to comment here on my webpage, or via Facebook/Twitter. I wish you an amazing 2014 and beyond!