A: You’re not alone, Taylor. I read somewhere that only about 10% of us actually manage to stick to our fitness resolutions beyond January due to the unrealistic and vague nature of the goals we set. So here are five tips for staying resolute in your healthy resolutions in 2013:
1. Keep things simple and specific. Instead of trying to stick to a resolution of “losing 10 pounds,” set basic and precise behavioral goals such as
- Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and
- Walking for 30 minutes 5 days per week, and
- Scheduling 2 strength training sessions per week, and
- Enjoying only 1 sugary treat per day
2. If your goal is losing weight, try setting periodic benchmarks. You’ll feel like you’re actually accomplishing something if you break the goal down into chunks – like “lose 2 pounds per month.”
3. Share your goals with family and friends so that they can help and support you. Also, enlist a workout buddy or two.
4. Incorporate plenty of physical activity into each day – but choose activities you enjoy and establish a schedule whereby you’ll engage in those activities. For example, one of my clients loves to walk while listening to books on her iPod. But she doesn’t enjoy walking on the treadmill. In order to maintain her daily walking regimen during our cold Colorado winters, she joined her local Recreation Center, which boasts an indoor track. Several evenings per week on her way home from work she stops by the Rec Center, laces up her tennies, inserts her ear buds, and walks for miles while enjoying a few chapters of her book. Another client shows up religiously to my early morning fitness classes, jokingly maintaining that she likes to exercise early in the morning before her brain figures out what she’s doing.
5. Employ a “lure.” Try hanging up a physical symbol of your goal as a daily reminder of what you’re working toward. This might be your swimsuit or a pair of jeans that you’d like to be able to wear again – or even a photo of yourself from when you weighed less or were in better shape.
Above all, Taylor, be kind to yourself. The daily stresses and responsibilities of life sometimes have a tendency to throw us off track. Detours are to be expected – just don’t let the pressures of life get you down or throw you completely off course. Best of luck to you in achieving your 2013 resolutions!