Are you one of the many people who made a ton of New Year resolutions? Or did you just make one big resolution, like weight loss, quite smoking, eat better, or start exercising? The New Year seems to be a great starting point to step out on the ledge and make some changes. I, myself, believe any time is a good time but totally understand that the beginning of the calendar year might make it easier for some. It’s like starting your gym rotation on a Monday. It makes sense.
Chances are whether you made one big resolution or many small ones this New Year; you most likely will not make your goal. STOP! Before you throw your skinny caramel macchiato at your computer screen in hopes that I felt it, I am just the messenger, so please don’t shoot me. The truth is that more than half of the people who vow to make changes at the beginning of the new year barely make it to June before quitting. So much for calling it a lifestyle change when it only last six months. So why are so many people unable to fulfill their New Year Resolution? The short answer to this is that they did not plan well. So what does good planning look like? Well here are a few tips to help you stay on track.
Take It Slow
Many people hit the pavement at full speed straight out the gate. I admire their enthusiasm and understand it well but they must be careful not to burn themselves out. I know this firsthand because I struggle with this myself. It is better to start slow, like committing to only 30 minutes of exercise one or two days a week until you get the hang of it. You might not feel like you are getting anywhere at first, but you are. You are training your body to be active and that is a big thing. After a month or so start adding time to your gym sessions and adding extra days a week. This way you build yourself up to a full gym schedule and your body is prepared for the energy it is going to exert.
Narrow It Down
It is a great thing to want to make so many changes for personal growth but it is just not realistic to change them all at once. Trying to lose weight, stop smoking, read more books, go back to school and find the love of your life all in one year is just way too much to take on. Start small. Write down the list of thing you want to change and pick out the ones that matter most to you. It is also a good idea to start with a building block goal, one that will build up to a greater goal. If you want to lose weight, eat right, and exercise more than it might be a good idea to start with exercising first. Make your resolution and goals around exercising only and don’t think too much about the eating right and weight loss. When you start exercising your body will naturally start craving what it needs to fuel your workouts, plus you will automatically make healthier choices to make sure you don’t undo all that hard work you’ve put in. When you start working out and eating healthy you will start to see weight loss. It’s like a domino effect and you have met three of your goals without overwhelming yourself.
Make Goals You Can Reach
One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting up their resolutions is not making them realistic. You recently watched one of the many food documentaries on our countries food and have now made a resolution to only purchase all organic, gluten free, fair trade and vegan food for your children. The thing is you are a single mom and money is tight. Unless you are the greatest master of budgeting this world has ever seen, it just is not a tangible goal. (By the way, if you happen to be doing this please give me a call because I could use those awesome budgeting skills!) How about you start with cutting out highly processed foods and replacing them with fresh fruits and veggies from a local market. Getting your children to eat more fruits and vegetables a day will be extremely beneficial for them whether they are organic or not.
Track Your Progress
Sometimes we just need to visually see how far we have come, like a gold star on a chore chart. Make a list of the steps needed to achieve your goal. After each step is completed, cross it off your list. I do this with my everyday task and I feel like I get much more done than when I don’t do this. I also pencil in my gym time like it was an appointment in my planner and after I go I cross it off list. You are more likely to get up and go to the gym if you actually made time for it in your schedule. Seriously, this really works.
Tell The World
Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your coworkers. Sharing your plans and later your ups and downs with the people around you is necessary for the journey. It helps you from doing it all on your own. It also holds you accountable because people will ask you how your resolution is going. You might want join a support group or stick with friends who made similar resolutions. These people will be your own personal cheerleaders!
Prepare For A Fall
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. That saying is one I live by. Some say if you have a plan B then there is no way you are going to be successful. I say that’s a bunch of hooey. There are many unexpected things that can happen in life. Kids get sick, cars break down, work runs late. Life happens. It is best for you to at least be prepared for it. Can’t make it to the gym, it’s ok. Plan to do a little home workout, or do 15 squats every time you go to the bathroom. Aunt Flo is coming to town and you have suddenly eaten every bit of salty and sugary snack your side of the equator. It… is… ok. Get a hold of yourself and put those meal-planning skills to use. Also plan to fill your house with healthy alternatives next month when Aunt Flo shows. Have a plan for when things don’t go as planned. Period.
Hopefully these tips help you in your journey.