Have you kept your New Year’s Resolution? Every year millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and half of those will succeed at making progress towards their goal. A large majority of those resolutions will be fitness or health related. Most of the people I come in contact with want to either exercise more or change the way they eat. The good news is that you are not alone in your endeavors. The bad news is that change is hard.
Below are some tips to help you making lasting change in the new year.
Small steps. You did not get in the shape you are overnight. There is no quick fix. The best solution is to take your goal one week and one day at a time. Every day is new. Start with a large goal and break it into bite-size steps and give your self a little wiggle room. If you want to lose 40 pounds by the end of the year concentrate on loosing 3 pounds a month and then one pound a week.
Plan a day ahead. Make time in your day to exercise. The best time to exercise is in the morning while you are fresh. Your willpower and resolve is greatest in the morning. Once the day starts your willpower and resolve to exercise will decrease. Plan your meals the night before. Know what you are going to eat and do the next day. When you leave your day up to chance you are more apt to miss your goal.
Write and tell. Take a moment and write your resolution down. Perhaps display it in a place you frequent around your house or at your desk at work. Starting a daily journal can help you track your progress as well as help you think through the process of change. Telling other people your goal can be of a great benefit too. People you trust can help by checking in and keeping you accountable. Once you make your goal known and continue to make it known you increase your chances of success because no one wants to fail publicly.
Partner up. Going through your journey with another person can be of great motivation. Knowing that someone is depending on you to walk with them in the morning is enough encouragement to get up and get out the door. If you do not know of anyone join a group. There are many online fitness groups that meet. There are also trainers and gyms and other facilities that can help.
One change at a time. Do not go crazy with your resolution and change too many things at one time. If you change everything at once you are less likely to succeed. Make small changes. Do not change your diet all at once, make small changes. For example, on your road to eating more healthy you can commit to eating one cup of vegetables a day. For exercise you can work on doing 15 minutes of walking a day. Keep it simple.
Prepare for failure. The moment you try and make a change for the better all hell breaks loose and life comes at you hard. Accept the fact that you might fail. If you do fail, know that this is not the end. Goals can be revised and everyday is a new day. Live in the moment. Learn from the past. If you fall off the wagon, get back on. Part of the joy of the journey is in the ups and downs.
Phillip Cox is a personal trainer, exercise enthusiast, and Army veteran. For feedback, questions, or to get individual coaching email him at email@example.com.