How to Actually Keep your Health & Fitness Resolutions

As we approach mid-January, it’s make-it-or-break-it time for New Year’s resolutions. It takes 21 days to create a habit,  so you just have to keep pushing a little bit longer before you’re more likely to achieve your 2017 goals! While there is no substitute for hard work and determination, here are a few things you can do to make it easier to actually keep your health and fitness resolutions:

Be specific

It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight”, “I want to eat healthier”, “I want to be more positive” etc, etc. Unless you are clear on EXACTLY what you want to achieve, you will have no direction towards your goal and any motivation will quickly disappear. Instead of setting the goal of “I want to eat healthier”, change it to “I want to have half my plate be full of vegetables, drink 8 glasses of water a day, and stop eating prepackaged snacks that are high in processed sugar”. Instead of saying “I’m going to go to the gym more”, say “I’m going to go to the gym X days per week”. Making your goal more specific creates more commitment.

Set goals you can actually obtain

If you have a busy schedule, you likely aren’t going to be able to make it to the gym 5-7 days per week. If you hate salads, you likely aren’t going to be able to commit to eating them every day for lunch. Find things that work for you and stick with them. If you can only make it to the gym two or three days per week, that’s better than nothing! With eating healthy, find recipes that you actually enjoy eating so that instead of “dieting” which feels forced, you’re making a healthy lifestyle change.

Take it slow and steady

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your goals won’t be accomplished in one either. It takes 21 days to create a habit, and you’ll never get there if you crash and burn after trying to hit the gym 5 days in a row when you haven’t even gone once the month before. The same thing goes with eating healthier; if you’re used to ordering takeout multiple times per week and loading up on high-sugar snacks, you’re not going to be able to cut out everything right away. Pace yourself. Work on gradually building up to your end goal.

Make both short and long term goals

It takes time for your body to change, and you won’t see results right away. This can be super discouraging, especially if you have big goals that could take over a year to achieve. Set weekly goals and monthly goals that support your overarching 2017 goals, for example doing a one-week ab challenge, or going a week without processed sugar or alcohol. Then set monthly goals of not buying junk food at the grocery store, or increasing your weights by 5-10 pounds by the end of the month. Having lots of small victories will boost your confidence and make you feel more accomplished on your path to your larger goals.

Track everything; write it down

As previously mentioned, it can be discouraging if you don’t see obvious progress right away, and it can be easy to forget where you started from and the little steps in the right direction that you’ve made. Writing everything down and having that visual reminder that you ARE improving, even if it’s slowly, can be super encouraging. Keep notes, paper or digital, of what your workout routines are and how much weight you lifted each time. Use an app like My Fitness Pal or a journal to write down what you’ve eaten each day. You’ll be surprised how much progress can be made in just two weeks, but it’s so easy to forget where you started from two weeks ago.

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