5 Easy Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 2, 2014

When it comes to ringing in the New Year, deciding what we will do differently over the next 12 months is the topic of conversation shortly after the ball drops. A new year is a fresh start and more often than not, striving for better health makes at least the short list of resolutions. However, even though we have the best intentions, research finds only 64 percent keep resolutions after the first month – 46 percent after six months. The reason, keeping a resolution is more difficult than making it if we don’t have the tools to be successful. Here are easy ways to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals in 2014.

Start Small

When it comes to setting fitness goals, don’t make a laundry list. Keep it simple and start small with three to five goals. Examples could be 20 minutes of a cardiovascular workout three days a week, attending a group class two days a week and trying one new workout every two weeks (group class, DVD or session with a personal trainer).

Plan for Workouts - Be prepared

Like most things in life, exercise won’t just happen on it’s own. You have to make the commitment and set aside the time or you might start hearing that voice in your head saying “I’d workout, but I never have the time.” Schedule workouts on your smartphone and set reminder alerts. If you enjoy checking things off a list, create an exercise to-do list. You will not only have the satisfaction of the workout, but also accomplishing another item on your list. Lay out your fitness attire the night before your workout or pack a bag to take to the gym. Don’t forget to include a bottle of water, towel, nutrition bar or snack. 

Enjoy Your Exercise

Not many people hop and skip into the gym excited to burn calories. Yes, the reward after a good workout boosts your mood, but don’t let the burden of a workout you don’t enjoy keep you from exercising. Find activities you like doing and make fitness resolutions to do more of those. Ask a friend to join you and make it a regular weekly appointment – whether it is water aerobics, walking, tennis or yoga.

Also, try something new to expand the variety of your workouts. Not only will doing the same workout over and over again increase your likelihood of losing interest, the benefits diminish over time as your body gets used to the workout. Confuse your muscles and spark your interest by trying something you have never tried.  The more enjoyable your workouts the more likely you’ll do them!

Be patient, it’s a process.

Know where you are now and a reasonable place to start. If you aren’t running, don’t expect to head out and run for 30 minutes. Start by walking and adding intervals of a minute or two of running at a time. Keep track of how you are doing and build up over time. Before you know it, you’ll be running 30 minutes and enjoying it, instead of dealing with the disappointment and frustration of struggling to reach a goal you’re not ready for. It’s important that you listen to your body. Don’t get caught up in the “New Year Push.” It’s not going to happen in a day.

Also, grow internally by educating yourself about fitness and nutrition. Follow blogs and groups on social media to learn more and find others like yourself working towards their goals and talking about it. Living a fit life is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. Take care of the inside and the outside will manifest itself. 

Get the Proper Amount of Sleep

Feeling rested and energized before exercising is easier said than done, but will help remove at least one obstacle keeping you from your fitness goals. Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it – even on weekends. Go to bed and wake close to the same time each night and morning to help regulate your sleeping patterns.