Are you ready to make this your year to take control of your health and fitness? If you’ve had New Year’s fitness resolutions that didn’t stick in the past and you want to make a change this year, the first step is recognizing where your good intentions fell off and didn’t result in action. It’s not that you didn’t have what it took to succeed, but more likely that you didn’t clearly define your goals and develop a fool-proof action plan. Use the tips below to set yourself up for success and ensure your fitness resolution fires up instead of fizzles out this year.
Focus on Daily Habits Rather Than End Results
Big, ambitious goals are accomplished through small daily habits. Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions that are focused on the distant end goal, like “run a marathon” or “lose thirty pounds”, focus on the consistent steps needed to get there.
Once you know where you want to be in three, six, or twelve months, work backwards and get granular to define what you need to do every day to reach your goal. Taking small steps consistently will help you bridge the gap from where you are to where you want to be.
For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, decide how much time you will dedicate to daily exercise and healthy meal planning. Plan what days you will work out during the week, and for how long. Develop or download a meal plan and write out your grocery list. Decide which day of the week you’ll meal prep and block out specific times on your schedule.
Shifting your mindset to focus on actionable steps that change your daily lifestyle, rather than letting the days go by without taking action, will help you make real progress and keep your motivation levels high.
Write Out Your Goal & Place It Somewhere You’ll See Every Day
Take a moment to write out your resolution and place it somewhere you will see first thing in the morning. This is an effective way to keep your goal front of mind as you start each day and reaffirm why you’re making positive daily lifestyle changes.
Whether you place a sticky note on the bathroom mirror or magnet it to the fridge, this small visual reminder can make a huge difference.
Pro tip: If you’re interested in tracking your daily progress and milestones, try using a planner or calendar. You can use this tool to plan your weekly workouts and meals, record what you did each day to move toward your goal, and write notes on what you’ve learned so far. This will also help you plan how to best fit your new practices into your regular routine.
Be Realistic & Start Small
If you never workout, don’t start with a goal that involves working out 6 days a week. You’ll get burnt out before the first week is up. Instead, set a smaller, more attainable goal that won’t overwhelm you. Start with 30 minutes 3 days a week while you build your strength and stamina up. Once that becomes a habit, add another day or an additional 15 minutes to the 3 days. It’s important to build a solid foundation first.
Studies show it takes 66 days on average to form a habit. So, if you stick with your smaller goals for 2-3 months, it will be much easier to keep it going and accomplish bigger goals.
Find an Accountability Buddy or Join a Group
There’s power in numbers. Surrounding yourself with people working towards similar goals will help keep you motivated and disciplined. If you don’t have someone in your circle of friends or family who will hold you accountable, consider joining a local class or club. Activity trackers can also help give you a little boost of motivation each day.
Reward Your Small Accomplishments
Keep yourself motivated to achieve your New Year’s fitness resolution by deciding on a reward for small accomplishments along the way. Going back to the example at the beginning, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, reward yourself for every 2 pounds you lose with something fun and exciting, but that won’t set you back. For example, new yoga pants, a night out dancing with friends, tickets to the next game of your favorite sports team, a cooking class, etc. It’s important to decide the rewards and milestones in advance though, so you always know what you’re working toward.
New Year’s fitness resolutions can be an amazing way to set intentions for your year, reset your priorities, and achieve your goals. If you start with a clear action plan, a strong community, and a positive mindset, you’re off to a great start on your journey!