If you already knew how to keep you New Year’s resolution, then you wouldn’t have to keep making the same ones over and over again! Year after year, we all make resolutions that sound great at the beginning of the year. Problem is, as the year drags on, it often becomes difficult to stay focused and see that goal to the finish line. Luckily, I’m here to help you with a handful of tips that will help you finally reach your New Year’s resolutions!
Making Resolutions Is Easy…
But keeping them is a whole different story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating, I’m the same way. I don’t know how many times I’ve made the same fitness related resolutions…well, probably every year for the last decade or so.
Every year, I have a resolution of dropping about 10 pounds. My goal weight is 190 lb. Today, I am 198 lb. So, guess what one of my New Year’s resolutions will be? You guessed it. Guess what, this won’t be the first time I’ve made that resolution. I doubt you are shocked, because if you are like the majority of folks, you also have difficulty following through on resolutions.
I start every new year the same way:
- I spend January detoxing from all the junk food I had been eating since Thanksgiving- healthy eating, working out 5 days a week, less booze
- By February, if I’m lucky I’ve dropped about 5 pounds or so, feeling good, getting the year off to a great start!
- By Spring the motivation fades a little, but it’s getting warm out and I will be at the pool soon, gotta keep working
- If everything goes according to plan, by mid-summer I’ve lost 8-10 pounds since the beginning of the year
- I maintain that till around September, then Fall “happens”…
- Octoberfest beers + Halloween + Thanksgiving + December =
- By the end of the year I’m right back where I started (and no heavier if I’m lucky)
This has been my cycle for at least the last 5-6 years. I will say, about 5 years ago after my Christmas and New Year’s binging, I weighed in at 205lb. This was an all time high for me and it was starting to become a trend- I had gradually started gaining some weight over the previous few years- a pound here, a pound there, nothing too crazy.
But seeing this weight on the scale upset me. As an adult, I had always been able to maintain between 185 -195lb. I made a vow to stay under 200 lb since then, and I’m happy to say that (so far) I have kept that vow. There have been plenty of close calls, hell, I’m 198 right now. But staying under 200 lb has been a pretty realistic goal for me.
That said, I still tend to lose and gain back the same 8-10 lb every year. Every year I tell myself, “I’m not going to gain that weight back in the Fall”… and I still do.
So, this year, I am going to make the same weight loss resolution and this year I am going to make it happen! And I am going to make it happen using the same tips I am offering you here!
5 Tips To Help You Keep Your Resolutions
#1 Make Realistic Resolutions
This is a fitness blog, so all of my examples relate to health and fitness, but these principles can be applied to resolutions in any field.
You have to set yourself up for success, not failure. If you are serious about the resolution you are making, then you have to make it realistic! You have to give yourself a fighting chance of actually succeeding. I have gone hiking 2x in the last 5 years, I’m not going to make it one of my New Year’s resolutions to climb Mount Everest…
I know, that’s a silly exaggeration. But the point I’m trying to make is valid. It’s ok to challenge yourself, but make sure your goal is actually achievable.
#2 Make It Official
They use to make us do this in school and I thought it was a waste of time. We had to write down our New Year’s resolutions. Back then, I didn’t realize the power of this. Now I do.
The idea is that writing your goal or resolution down on paper “makes it more official”. If it’s official, you feel more responsible for it. You feel more obliged to give it your all. I think an important aspect of this strategy, though, is to keep it somewhere where you can see it and re-read periodically to keep you focused on your goal.
I’ll be honest, the “writing it down” thing doesn’t help me much. I’ve tried it. I prefer to tell someone my resolution. Telling a friend or family member makes it more official for me. I feel more motivated and responsible for my resolution if someone knows about it and is expecting me to do it.
*I haven’t done this the last couple of years, but I am this New Year’s
#3 Divide It Into Smaller, More Achievable Goals
This is always a great strategy when problem solving or working toward something. Breaking a larger goal into smaller goals makes the larger goal seem more achievable. It also gives you the opportunity for multiple successes, which is a very powerful motivator.
For my example- I want to weigh 8 lb less than I do now by the end of next year. I could set a goal of losing 2lb by March, another 2lb by June, another 2 by September, and the last 2 by December. This would be a great way to break the main goal up.
Personally, I know it’s going to be harder to lose weight the last quarter of the year for me. So, my goal is to lose 3 lb by March, another 3 by June, and the last 2 by September. Then I want to maintain that through the end of the year.
Not only did I break it into smaller goals, but I set REALISTIC goals…that’s only 1 lb a month.
#4 Implement Gradually
This goes hand in hand with #3 above. You should gradually change your behavior instead of completely changing all at once. You are much more likely to maintain your changes over time if you implement over time. Don’t shock your system too much at once!
Back to the losing weight example. I will need to gradually clean up my diet. During December, I eat a lot of Christmas goodies: cookies, hams, steaks, cheeses, charcuterie, more cookies. If, on January 1st, I switch to eating nothing buy salads and raw vegetables, I’m gonna seriously struggle.
Instead, I need to gradually implement more fruits and vegetables. Maybe decrease portion size with each meal. Eat healthier, less carby snacks. Exercise more often. You see what I’m getting at, start slow and build your way up. After all, you have a whole year…
Again, this strategy works for all areas. Giving up smoking? Decrease your cigarettes per day by 1 each wk. Trying to save more money or spend less? Set a weekly savings goal. Just some ideas, but same principle.
#5 Forgive Yourself
Remember why we make resolutions to begin with, we are not perfect. We are all “works in progress”. If you don’t reach your resolution, it’s not the end of the world. There’s always next year!
The important thing is to not get discouraged and give up. I know this is a common theme with fitness resolutions. How many people join a commercial gym in January and have stopped going by March? I don’t have a number for ya, it was more of a rhetorical question…but the answer is a lot.
If you have started exercising and haven’t lost any weight in 8 weeks, that’s ok. Don’t quit! Even if you haven’t lost weight yet, you are still exercising and that is still good for you. Stop and take a look at what you are doing and what you are eating and see if you have to change something. Ask for help, it’s ok (your friends here at The Home Gym would be glad to help!).
Stay positive. If you fall short this year, learn from your mistakes and try again.
A Brand New Year!
I love New Year’s eve. And not only for the Twilight Zone marathon on tv. I love the idea of having a brand new year, to start fresh and try to improve on the previous year.
I enjoy reflecting on the previous year. Looking back and seeing everything that was accomplished, or not accomplished. It’s good motivation for the new year ahead.
I hope these tips will help you on your journey ahead into the new year. In summary, make sure your resolutions are realistic to begin with, the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure before you begin. Tell someone or write it down, it makes you more accountable. Separate your resolution into smaller, more achievable goals and enjoy your successes. Implement your changes gradually, it will make it more doable and you are more likely to stick to them. Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall short. It happens, stick with it and learn from your mistakes.
Leave a comment below with any questions or if you would like to share your New Year’s resolutions, I would love to hear them.
Happy New Year everybody!