When was the last time you completed you New Year’s resolution?
Sadly, most of us ditch more resolutions than we see through. But year after year, we pledge to shed that extra 15 pounds or be less sedentary only to feel discouraged when the scale doesn’t budge.
So where’s the disparity? Why do so many people fail to follow through with their healthy New Year resolutions?
Conquer 2017 With These Healthy New Year Resolution Tips
Achieving your New Year resolution starts with proper goal setting. If your goal centers on a shallow outcome, you won’t feel motivated to accomplish it. Healthy living isn’t just about weight loss; it’s about feeling your best — both inside and out. When you see the higher purpose and have the resources to tackle your big hairy goal, giving up won’t be so easy.
Don’t succumb to the same New Year routine. Consider these healthy New Year resolution ideas to make 2017 your best year yet.
Remember Your Why
Before defining your goals, ask why. Why do you want to make a change? How would you like to feel as a result of your progress? Less stressed? More confident? Sure, the idea of fitting into old jeans might seem life-changing, but that feeling isn’t sustainable. Having the endurance to run around with your kids or feeling more energized throughout the day will impact your quality of life. Focusing on these healthy desired feelings rather than results will lead to more meaningful goals.
Set Smarter Goals
The goal of losing weight is vague, and over-relying on the scale can warp your progress. Instead, think SMART — specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.
For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 20 pounds of fat might be an achievable 4-month goal. Your goal could look something like this: Lose 20 pounds of fat in 4 months to reduce my body fat percentage from 40% to 30%. In this case, you have an attainable goal and timeframe and a metric to measure progress (body fat percentage).
Not all health goals revolve around weight loss, though. If you want to feel stronger and more confident, being able to do 15 push-ups in 3 months might be a sound goal. But how do you measure success? For these types of goals, start by striving for a realistic number of modified push-ups each week, gradually working toward regular ones.
Slice Your Goal Into Easy Wins
Once you have your goal, think about setting achievable mini goals to get there. Sure, you feel ready to toss the junk food and buckle down to lose 20 pounds. But once the holiday euphoria has run its course, healthy eating won’t sound so appetizing. And without a game plan, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.
Rather than focusing on the end result, break down your resolution into the necessary steps to achieve it. How much body fat should you aim to lose each week to hit your 4-month goal? From there, reverse engineer the steps to accomplish this — including your required caloric intake and calories burned.
Or, say you want to run 5 miles without stopping. That’s great! Create a weekly plan to achieve that milestone. If you’re not a runner, you probably need to start walking a few miles a day and gradually incorporate more jogging into your routine. Map out a realistic plan to reach 5 miles, and bake walking/jogging it into your daily or weekly routine.
Track Your Weekly Progress
Don’t stumble blindly toward your goals; set up weekly checkpoints to measure success. When you see the small wins start to add up, your goals seem much more attainable.
Start by writing down your big scary goal and the metrics you originally defined to monitor progress (such as body fat percentage). Each week, record the improvement, and refine your diet or exercise plan as needed to hit your weekly benchmarks. Trial and error is the only way to know what works for your body — so don’t be discouraged if you miss the mark one week or need to adjust your original goal.
Turn New Traditions Into Permanent Behavior
If you’re serious about living healthy, you need to make lasting lifestyle changes. Scientifically speaking, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic; change won’t happen overnight.
Start by pinpointing healthy diet swaps you can make today. It’s crucial not to make goals around deprivation — like eliminating cheese, fat, etc. — because you will likely cave, and that is OK. Moderation is key.
If your goal is to eat clean, clear your pantry of unhealthy options, and create a healthy weekly grocery shopping list. Find new guilt-free recipes, and follow your new healthy habits religiously for 2 months to make sure they stick.
Don’t Let Hiccups Steer You Off Course
According to University of Pennsylvania research, only about 40 percent of people stick to their New Year’s resolution beyond six months. Life happens, and you won’t always squeeze your workout in. But slipping up isn’t the problem. Giving up is why people circle back to the same goals year in and year out with no real progress.
Stay Motivated With an Accountability Partner
If you lack motivation or need help getting started, in-home personal training can give you that extra push to reach your health goals. Having an accountability partner to help define goals and track progress will set you up for success. At Body Fit St. Louis, our staff of certified personal trainers provide in-home or webcam training and nutrition consulting to help turn your New Year resolution into reality. Click here to get started today, and commit to make 2017 your year!